Heartbleed Bug Affects Gadgets Everywhere

The “Heartbleed” security bug has caused a great deal anxiety for people and businesses. Now, it appears that the computer bug is affecting not just websites, but also networking equipment including routers, switches and firewalls.

The extent of the damage caused by Heartbleed is sstill unknown. The security hole exists on a vast number of the Internet’s Web servers and went undetected for more than two years. Although it’s conceivable that the flaw was never discovered by hackers, it’s difficult to tell.

There isn’t much that people can do to protect themselves completely until the affected websites implement a fix. And in the case of networking equipment, that could be quite a while. Tech giants Cisco and Juniper have identified about 2 dozen networking devices affected by Heartlbeed including servers, routers, switches, phones and video cameras used by small and large businesses everywhere

Here are three things you can do to reduce the threat:

— Change your passwords. This isn’t a fool-proof solution. It’ll only help if the website in question has put in place the necessary security patches. You also might want to wait a week and then change them again.

— Worried about the websites you’re surfing? There’s a free add-on for the Firefox browser to check a site’s vulnerability and provide color-codes flags. Green means go and red means stop. You can download it here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/heartbleed-checker/

— Check the website of the company that made your home router to see if it has announced any problems. Also be diligent about downloading and installing and software updates you may receive.

The Heartbleed bug isn’t a “virus” but a security flaw. The bug can be tested for to see whether it affects a certain website. You can perform your own test here: https://filippo.io/Heartbleed

 

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