Mercury Monitor

Heartbleed Bug to Get Worse as Millions at Risk


Bristol, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/17/2014 -- The Heartbleed bug will only get worse as millions are now at risk. The Heartbleed bug is now being called one of the biggest cyber threats ever seen, according to security experts. The Heartbleed bug is now much more serious than anticipated, and the damages posed by the bug are mounting daily since the discovery of the bug in early April.

The high-profile bug has compromised millions of older Android devices. Older versions of the Google Android system are the most at risk, according to mobile security experts. They have said that users of the Android 4.1.1 version should avoid vulnerable transactions, such as online banking. The hackers could exploit the Heartbleed bug to steal their data. Mobile security experts warn that 50 million Android devices worldwide could be compromised by the Heartbleed bug.

The Heartbleed bug has gone undetected for years and has undermined the basic security of websites by compromising “security certificates” that provide verification of a website’s authenticity. Millions of consumers are at risk as hackers may be able to steal usernames, passwords, credit card data or even social security numbers.

Security experts agree that efforts to fix the Heartbleed bug will cause major problems in the next few weeks as websites scramble to fix encryption systems.

Some cyber security experts are suggesting consumers change their passwords on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. They believe that no action is needed on LinkedIn and are unclear on Twitter. They are suggesting changing passwords on Gmail and Yahoo mail, and also on Amazon Web Service. They are also recommending changing passwords on YouTube, Flickr, Minecraft, and Netflix.

There is no evidence yet that hackers have exploited the bug to steal data from mobile devices. But security experts said a hacker could take advantage of the Heartbleed bug if people open a malicious website on a vulnerable phone, while doing online banking on that device. The hacker could jump from a malicious site to the banking website to steal data like usernames and passwords. Cyber experts added that such an attack was very complex and the likelihood of it happening was not high.

The mobile security firm Lookout has released an online app that will allow Android users to determine whether they are using a software version that is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. The app is free. Lookout warned that the Heartbleed bug could affect other internet connected electronics in the future including smart TV’s and appliances.

American Funds, one of the largest mutual fund companies, sent emails to 825,000 clients advising them to change usernames and passwords as a result of the Heartbleed bug. They also advised clients to create new security questions and delete their browsing history. Cyber security firm Trail of Bits said they expected more companies to issue warnings as no company would want to be remiss in protecting their clients from the Heartbleed bug.

The story of the Heartbleed bug appears to be just beginning and is expected to get worse and effect millions worldwide in the coming weeks and months. There have been no reports on what the cost will be to corporations and consumers as a result of the effects of the Heartweed bug.

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John J. Poltonowicz
John J. Poltonowicz, Published

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