'Heartbleed' Bug Sweeps the Internet: Are Your Accounts Safe? [UPDATE]

heartbleedThe following websites were affected by Heartbleed and say they have been patched: Google services, including Gmail and YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Netflix, Yahoo and Dropbox. Security experts still recommend changing your passwords ONLY for sites that have been declared safe (like those listed). You do NOT need to change your Google passwords. Contact any website directly if you think you are not getting enough information from them. Twitter, Paypal, Microsoft accounts, and Amazon.com were NOT affected.

There's a new way to get your heart broken online, and it has nothing to do with Internet dating. Nope, it's a boring ol' security breech. But here's the thing: It's huge and threatens things like our banking passwords. As much as 66 percent of the web could be affected by "Heartbleed," the security bug that's gone, well, viral in a very un-funny way. Here's everything you need to know about this bug and how to protect yourself.


Okay, what the heck is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is a bug found in many websites' security systems -- what they use to protect our login info. It’s estimated that up to 66 percent of the web has been compromised by this wicked bug. And it may have been in existence for as long as two years without our knowing about it. ZOMG!

Don't panic, though. That means the websites are vulnerable to hacking/attacks. That doesn't mean they've all actually been hacked yet. Basically, it's like finding out that the locks on your house and car doors are super easy to pick. You'd want to get new locks on everything, right?

Right. Websites are scrambling quickly to “patch” that vulnerability. Some are already done, and some expect to be by the weekend.

Yikes, that's why they call it Heartbleed! So what can I do to protect myself?

1. Test to see if your favorite websites are vulnerable by entering their URLs in the Heartbleed.com testing tool. This is reportedly not 100 percent accurate, but it’s something.

2. Don’t log into a website if the Heartbleed test tool shows it's vulnerable. Watch the website’s Twitter and Facebook feeds or call customer support to see if they’d secured the breach before you log in again.

3. Change all your passwords for important websites with sensitive information today.

4. Going forward, always log out of websites after you finish using them.

5. Never use the same password for more than one website with sensitive information.

Check out Heartbleed.com for more information.

How safe do you feel like your personal information is online?


Image via Heartbleed.com

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