Heartbleed has created a lot of concern for consumers and business owners. But what’s so concerning about Heartbleed? Well, the vulnerability infects OpenSSL software, which is used to encrypt online communications. And OpenSSL is the preferred protocol of choice for almost every website; in fact, almost ¾ of websites use OpenSSL to keep communications secure.
The vulnerability allows hackers to intercept communications, essentially bypassing the encryption, to view and steal information in clear text. This puts your sensitive data, including financial information and login credentials, at risk for theft. But here’s a few simple tips to help you protect yourself:
- Change your passwords: Contact websites to ensure they’ve resolved the vulnerability. Once a website has resolved the vulnerability, it’s important to change your password immediately.
- Don’t reuse passwords: Use separate passwords for each online service. If you’re reusing passwords and one service is compromised, the hacker can easily compromise the rest.
And Heartbleed isn’t the only concerning vulnerability in the past few weeks, Cryptodefense, a new type of ransomware, has been spreading via email attachments and USB sticks. Once the ransomware infects your PC, it starts to encrypt all of your data files, including photos and word documents. Then your data files are encrypted until the ransom fee, which ranges from $500 – $1000, is sent to the cybercriminal.
So what can be done to prevent Cryptodefense infection? It’s actually pretty simple: do not open attachments within emails. Also, backup your files to ensure they’re recoverable at all times.
In the wake of Heartbleed and Cryptodefense, Windows XP users should be weary. If you’re running Windows XP, your PCs are more vulnerable than newer versions of Windows. In fact, IE8 is extremely insecure on Windows XP. After Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, IE8 stopped receiving updates to keep the browser safe.
On a More Positive Note – a Major Fiber Optic Project for High-Speed Internet Connecting Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties is in the Works!
According to recent reports, a grant of more than $10 million will help fund two systems planned in the first of many consumer and small business projects. This project will greatly improve Internet speed in the area.