An exploit known as “Heartbleed” Bug has shown up in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, and it could essentially allow attackers to gain access to highly sensitive information, including credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data.
“This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs),” reads a description of the bug on the Heartbleed.com website.
“The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software.”
It can compromise secret keys used to encrypt web traffic, allowing attackers to eavesdrop communications or impersonate other users.
“As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused,” the website states. Fixed OpenSSL was released but it has to be deployed en masse, the website added.
“Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use,” Heartbleed.com reads.
Ronald Prins of security firm Fox-IT tweeted about testing the bug. “We were able to scrape a Yahoo username & password via the Heartbleed bug … Ok, ran my heartbleed script for 5 minutes, now have a list of 200 usernames and passwords for yahoo mail…TRIVIAL!” he wrote.
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