News

New ‘Heartbleed’ bug poses threat to data security

New ‘Heartbleed’ bug poses threat to data security

HEARTBLEED:The finding of the so-called "Heartbleed" vulnerability, by researchers with Google Inc and a small security firm Codenomicon, prompted the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security to advise businesses on Tuesday to review their servers to see if they were using vulnerable versions, a type of software known as OpenSSL. Photo: Reuters

BOSTON (Reuters) – A newly discovered bug in widely used Web encryption technology has made data on many of the world’s major websites vulnerable to theft by hackers in what experts say is one of the most serious security flaws uncovered in recent years.

The finding of the so-called “Heartbleed” vulnerability, by researchers with Google Inc and a small security firm Codenomicon, prompted the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security to advise businesses on Tuesday to review their servers to see if they were using vulnerable versions, a type of software known as OpenSSL.

It said updates are already available to address the vulnerability in OpenSSL, which could enable remote attackers to access sensitive data including passwords and secret keys that can decode traffic as it travels across the Internet.

“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace,” Codenomicon said on a website it built to provide information about the threat, heartbleed.com.

Computer security experts warned that means victims cannot tell if their data has been accessed which is troubling because the bug has existed for about two years.

“If a website is vulnerable I could see things like your password, banking information and healthcare data, which you were under the impression you were sending securely to your website,” said Michael Coates, director of product security for Shape Security.

Chris Eng, vice president of research with software security firm Veracode, said he estimates that hundreds of thousands of web and email servers around the globe need to be patched as soon as possible to protect them from attack by hackers who will rush to exploit the vulnerability now that it is publicly known.

The technology website Ars Technica reported that security researcher Mark Loman was able to extract data from Yahoo Mail servers by using a free tool.

A spokesperson for Yahoo Inc confirmed that Yahoo Mail was vulnerable to attack, but said it had been patched along with other main Yahoo sites such as Yahoo Search, Finance, Sports, Flickr and Tumblr.

“We are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now,” she said on Tuesday evening.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle; additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco)

Recently Played

Latest Headlines

in Music

John Lennon’s killer fights for freedom

Fresh
chapman

Mark David Chapman is awaiting a decision over whether he will finally be freed from prison after his eighth parole case this week.

in Entertainment

‘Jackass’ star could face charges for ‘Seaworld sucks’ sign prank

Fresh
15-overlay8

WATCH: Steve-O could face criminal charges for defacing a San Diego highway sign and promoting the prank via social media.

in Entertainment

Crowdfunding fails

Fresh
fail

Because we can't all be winners.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Best Ice Bucket Challenge fail. Period.

Fresh
18-overlay6

WATCH: A girl attempts the Ice Bucket Challenge immediately after having her wisdom teeth removed. It backfires miserably.

in Entertainment

Confirmed: Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon have split

Fresh
mariah

The showbiz superstars have been living in separate houses for months, Cannon says.