So the internet is now flooded with information about the latest on information hacking options called Heartbleed. A couple years ago this bug was found in the OpenSSL cryptographic library that allows confidential information to be copied – potentially allowing hackers to steal your personal information. For those of you who don’t know what the OpenSSL is, when you go to pay for things on websites (2/3 of them) or set up personal information, they have a little picture of a padlock to show you the site is secure.
I am not sure why it has taken so long for the information about Heartbleed to become public knowledge but I would assume that it is because they had to find a patch for it before alerting us – trying to prevent mass chaos. So in an effort to help out those of you who may be in a state of panic now, here is a website that you can check to see if the patch has been done on your various sites (paypal, gmail, yahoo, etc…) that may have your information stored so you can change your passwords and move on.
If the website does not show an updated security certificate, or this website says that it has not been updated DON’T bother changing your password yet as the new one would just become knowledge to anyone who wanted to hack you.
Let me emphasize at this time that the Heartbleed is only a BUG, not a virus so it is not something that can be “caught” by your computer and auto-passed on. It would have to be actively hacked so the recommendation at this time is to monitor your credit card accounts closely and if you notice suspicious activity, notify your credit card company.
Also it would not be a bad idea to take your private information off of the sites until everything has been patched up just in case the outpouring of this bug crisis causes some bored hackers to start stealing.
Update: Here is a current list of websites that have been affected so you know which passwords need to be changed!