I received half a dozen emails today about the heartbleed bug… “What is this?”, I asked myself. Is it a new phenomenon that dating couples have experienced lately? This triggered my curiosity so I read these emails and followed the links to their blog posts.
The Heartbleed Bug
The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).
The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.
If you are not managing a website wit SSL, which provides security to certain pages like transaction pages, you have little to worry about. Professionals are now working around the clock to deploy a fix to this problem and the Heartbleed bug will only be a bad souvenir.