Recently, one of the biggest security breaches in Internet history occurred, affecting over two-thirds of the Internet. No one saw this coming and several large companies were at the front of those who were vulnerable. It was a scary moment waking up to the biggest security breach in history and learning that almost every website you used was in trouble wasn’t it? People desperately started searching for what to do and which sites to change their passwords for, sites scrambled about trying to implement a patch or find out if they’d even been breached, and news agencies went crazy with the story. Now that things have calmed down and you have, hopefully, changed most of your passwords, it is time to think about what can be done to repair any damages you may have faced or what this could mean for the future of your business.
I Keep Hearing “Heartbleed,” What Is It?
The Heartbleed bug attacks sites that utilize Open SSL for their site security. The scary thing is the majority of popular websites use SSL! This is why this bug affected over two-thirds of websites. Though, it is important to note only websites that use Open SSL are vulnerable, any other sites that use different formats of SSL are safe. What is this, you ask? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is that handy little lock at the front of many web addresses. When you see that, you believe everything is secure. This bug opens up all private information from an Open SSL site to the Heartbleed hacker and anyone else who knows how to use it. It is basically an open backdoor that says, “Come and look at all of my information! You can have it if you want!”
How Does This Affect My Personal Facebook Time?
The only way this affects your personal Internet usage is that your private information has been vulnerable for a very long time. This is scary and upsetting, but you can fix any future views on your private info by simply changing your password. This goes for any other social sites you’ve used such as Twitter and Instagram. Mashable released a great list of companies and websites that were breached by Heartbleed and that installed patches to their systems. Before changing your password though, make sure the site has updated their security with the necessary patch. Again, Mashable lists companies that have done this.
What About My Business – Should I Be Worried?
You should take as many precautions as possible when it comes to the Heartbleed bug. Your business may or may not be affected by it, but it is wise to check. Steve Peterson over at Social Media Today said that while his online shop wasn’t affected he still had to double check. He didn’t want to operate his shop if it was vulnerable because he wanted to keep his clientele safe. Conversely, he has made sure that before purchasing items online, he tests each site to be safe with a handy program. Test your online store to make sure you are safe, if not, give your provider a call to learn what steps they are taking and how much they will amp up security.
Tips On How You Can Stay Secure and Recover From This Breach
We are sure you are wondering what you can do to recover and how you can best protect yourself and business from any future breaches. Sadly, it is difficult to completely protect your sites from breaches like this but there are many things you can do to make it difficult for anyone to gain access to your personal information.
1. Change Passwords Frequently. We know this is a pain to do! However, changing your passwords frequently is just a good security practice. If you don’t want to do this for your personal sites, at least do it for your business. You want to make sure your client’s information is secure as best as possible.
2. Beware of Scams. Many sites and independent workers are releasing new programs that will detect if there is a bug or will detect if you have a vulnerability, unfortunately this is a prime moment for scammers and hackers. Make sure you research any company before you download software and try to always download software from a reputable source. If you don’t, you may be in for a nasty surprise.
3. Don’t Ignore Your Phone. While Apple products weren’t affected, many Androids have been. Make sure you upgrade your phone to the latest software updates. You can find out if your Android is vulnerable by seeing if your system is the 4.1.1 Jelly Bean or you can download an Android app to test vulnerability. In addition, if you happened to use Google Chrome on your iPhone, it may be wise to update your Chrome app and change all passwords you used on your phone. While iPhones weren’t affected, it is a good idea to be extra prepared.
4. Enable a Two-Step Verification System. Most sites have the ability for you to utilize a two-step verification system to keep your system from being hacked. Many people never used this, as they didn’t fear being hacked but with the Heartbleed bug out there, you should consider the two-step system. It can be a pain, but would you rather go through one extra step or risk having all private documentation available to a hacker?
5. Keep Checking Lists To Learn More. Keep an eye on the various lists being released by websites showing which sites have been affected. In the first week of the virus, we learned of many major corporations but we are learning about more that have been affected since that first week, as well. DigitalTrends.com has a comprehensive list if you want to learn more.
In Closing: Constant Vigilance!
The Heartbleed virus has made everyone jumpy when it comes to Internet security. If you take the precautions listed above and follow all directions from services you use, you will be able to secure your private information, as well as your client’s private information. This will help you in the future if another security breach such as this occurs. Make sure you are in the habit of constant vigilance and security!