In April, the web and newspapers around the world were abuzz about Heartbleed – a major security risk. Now months later, things have quieted down. However, last month it was announced that nine more critical bugs were found in the OpenSSL.
It was emphasized that none of these new vulnerabilities were as serious as Heartbleed, which, by some experts’ calculations, affected two thirds of websites. However, these latest bugs show that it is very important to protect your accounts and take care of your passwords. Vulnerabilities in OpenSSL, like Heartbleed, can be used by cybercriminals to:
- Steal data, such as passwords, usernames, and more
- Carry out denial of service (DoS) attacks
- Write files to your computer’s memory
- And more
How to Protect Yourself
When it comes to OpenSSL vulnerabilities, the onus is on the company operating the website to apply the security patches that are issued. You should keep a close eye on your banking, shopping, and social networking websites to see if they have announced that they are patched.
It is also a good idea to:
- Change your passwords. Once it has been announced that a website has been patched, change your password to make it harder for cybercriminals.
- Keep a watch out. Check your banking and credit card accounts to make sure no strange or surprise charges have been made to your accounts.
- Use strong passwords. Security researchers recommend you use hard-to-crack passwords for each of your online accounts. Some common guidelines include using passwords that are at least eight characters long, cannot be found in a dictionary, and have a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
- Employ different credentials. It is recommended that you have a unique password for each of your accounts. As well, it is a good idea to use different usernames and emails for various accounts. This adds another layer of security.
- Use a premium antivirus. Antivirus software such as SparkTrust AntiVirus can remove dangerous malware that has been downloaded to your computer due to vulnerabilities.
What is OpenSSL
OpenSSL is a software used by countless websites for security. With OpenSSL, info such as passwords and usernames are transferred from your PC to websites in an encrypted way so that it cannot be seen by others. The Heartbleed vulnerability allowed users with a little know how the ability to get info without leaving any tracks.