If you’ve been online in the past week, you’ve probably heard about Heartbleed. You may have ignored it and all of the technical jargon surrounding it. Don’t.
If you want the short story: Your personal information may have been compromised, so change all of your passwords for all of your social networking sites, shopping sites, etc.
If you want the longer story: When you visit a site and log in, you will usually see a padlock and an https:// at the beginning of the web page address. This is telling you that the data you are sending through (your password or credit card number, for instance) is secure and cannot be intercepted by a 3rd party.
“Heartbleed is a problem in OpenSSL, a software library that is used by most websites to secure your communication using SSL.” says Dave Teare of AgileBits, maker of my favorite software, 1Password. “The Heartbleed exploit enables attackers to bypass the protections provided by SSL.”
If you used an affected site before this bug was fixed on that site, your information can potentially already be in the hands of hackers. Therefore, you really want to change your passwords ASAP.
Yes, it’s a chore. I have to do it, too and I’m not enjoying the task, but it’s way better than having to clean up a mess if someone steals and uses my data.
I’ve talked about creating good solid passwords in the past and am reminding you again. There are a few applications out there that can help you with this task AND can help you manage all of those passwords. I use 1Password (and no, I don’t make money from recommending it) and it is fantastic. AgileBits is selling 1Password for 50% off at the moment, so now is a great time to get your passwords in order and secured.
Go do it. Now.