A major security vulnerability for OpenSSL was recently uncovered, known as the ‘Heartbleed bug.’ It has exposed and endangered passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data on hundreds of thousands of servers.
What is the nature of this cyber-security vulnerability? OpenSSL is a software used for Web encryption. The security vulnerability in OpenSSL has compromised the encryption keys that are meant to keep data private and secure on these web and email servers. Hackers can go beyond stealing data from servers; they can also impersonate legitimate websites, causing unsuspecting visitors to feed them the sensitive information.
The Heartbleed bug has affected many companies, including Internet giants such as Yahoo. What we hear about in the news is how these major companies have been scrambling to patch up the vulnerability and prevent further violations of user privacy. We know that millions of people have been affected by Heartbleed, but the full scope of the problem remains to be seen; we don’t know what all of the repercussions will be.
What Heartbleed means for you
Is your business facing critical risks from Heartbleed? What is your general strategy for protecting sensitive data and minimizing security risks for your employees and your customers?
The Heartbleed bug provides yet another example of how important it is to have strong, ongoing IT support. Data security requires constant vigilance, along with a speedy and effective reaction to problems that come up. If you’re in a potentially catastrophic situation in which your most important information is compromised, you need an IT team to be on it immediately; you can’t delegate such crucial responsibilities to employees who don’t have the time or expertise to handle it.
Responding to Heartbleed requires much more than changing some passwords. If your encryption keys have been compromised, your key information remains easily available to hackers. Consider the potential costs of compromised data, including crippled business operations and a loss of customer trust.