You may have noticed your internet connection is slow today, or you’re having problems sending eMail this week. You’re not the only one. That’s because there’s a bug in a piece of software that is widely used by many companies across the board for internet connectivity. It’s called OpenSSL. And it’s important to understand how THIS AFFECTS YOU and why it’s so serious.
OpenSSL manages security behind the scenes for your secured connections. That’s social media, your own blog, even your email servers probably run on OpenSSL. It probably definitely affects your Bank Account, and potentially any secured transaction you use online. Financial, personal, medical and everything in between.
It will also impact the same transactions and connections you may use from your smart phone. So don’t think you can go from your PC to simply do what you need to do on your phone. You can’t get around this, unfortunately.
Have you been told that you should NEVER send passwords or personal information through a web page unless you see the “HTTPS” in the address bar (ie: https://mybank.com/login)? That is controlled by SSL security and OpenSSL is the most popular companies to offer secured socket connectivity. So this does affect you.
The bug, dubbed ‘HeartBleed’ is based on a fault in functionality contained within OpenSSL. It was originally discovered by Neel Mehta from Google. In general: The flaw can potentially be used to reveal not just the contents of a secured-message, such as a credit-card transaction over HTTPS, but the primary and secondary SSL keys themselves. This data could then, in theory, be used as a skeleton keys to bypass secure servers without leaving a trace that a site had been hacked.
Ok, enough of the GeekSpeak here, the point to all this is that companies are in panic mode as they try to close the hole and resolve the issue. And that is affecting a variety of services, including eMail. Consequently, I’m not able to send out responses to those of you who have sent me a note in the past two days. Or I’ve been able to get out one or two, but I’m not sure if they were actually sent or not.
This is seriously irritating to me, because not being able to empty out my inbox is affecting my daily goal to do so. And that means it’s affecting my MindBloom tree! Grrr. As soon as things settle down and eMail is working normally and safely once again, I’ll be sending out replies once more.
Until then, be cautious of your own internet security connections. If you can avoid doing any financial transactions through the entire week, you might want to do so. Better to be inconvenienced for a week or so, than to have your account information stolen along with everything you have stored in your bank accounts.
© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.