The heartbleed bug hit headlines yesterday, and now millions of internet users wonder how they can protect their accounts against the vulnerability. While changing passwords is important, there are some steps to take first to make sure the OpenSSL software is still no affected on the individual websites.
Websites have not been the only things affected by this bug. Android, iOS and other system apps have also been affected, and it is important to check them for the vulnerability. Digital Trends recommended checking any website used through Qualys SSL Labs. It is possible to type in any domain name and make sure the site has not been affected. LastPass is also available, and will do the same job. Both of these take time to go through the full system to check for any affects from the heartbleed bug.
There are certain websites that people use on a daily basis that have been affected. So far, Facebook, Yahoo and Google services have all been affected. Google states that Chrome and Chrome OS have not, but Google+, Gmail and YouTube are among the passwords you will need to change. A patch has already been created for the three companies just mentioned, so it is now safe to change passwords and protect accounts. Amazon, Netflix and Dropbox have also been affected.
There is no point changing passwords until a patch is created to protect accounts against the heartbleed bug vulnerability. If the passwords are changed before then, the hackers will still be able to use the loophole currently in place, and the new password will be affected.
Some of the apps affected include Dropbox, Instagram, Hulu and Stripe. It is worth checking with the companies to find out whether patches have been created. Most have, so passwords can be changed right now. However, some companies are still developing their patches and have not given a timeframe as of yet.
There are some tech companies still to report whether they have been affected or not. Snapchat is one of those. Users will need to wait until there is an announcement. Netflix is still creating a patch and users are advised to wait for now before changing their passwords.
It is important to change the password to something strong. Never use something like “password1234,” which is one of the easiest passwords to guess. Users are recommended to use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters to make passwords as strong as possible. Many websites now offer an indication of how strong a password is. It is possible to generate passwords through software, such as LastPass. Of course, generating automatic passwords means that remembering them personally is much harder.
This website vulnerability has been around for some time, but it only just coming to light. It has spread panic across the globe, but there is nothing anybody can do until the websites create their fix. Most have developed patches now, but many others are still in the process. Check with the websites and apps, and then take steps to protect accounts against the heartbleed bug vulnerability.
By Alexandria Ingham