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Heartbleed Bug Virus Meaning: How Do Sites Like Google, Facebook And Amazon Test for the Virus?

First Posted: Apr 12, 2014 03:03 PM EDT
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For over two years now, a virus called Heartbleed has been infecting a lot of websites. In fact, it has already reached millions of websites, and those that are unprotected might be vulnerable to the virus. The Heartbleed bug is so powerful virus that may even be able to snatch passwords. The good news is that website administrators have found ways of updating their OpenSSL software to ensure that users stay protected on Yahoo!, Gmail, and other important websites.

This virus lets hackers capture the flaws in OpenSSL encryption software being used by a lot of major websites all over the world. It makes credit card numbers and passwords vulnerable along with other personal information. To ensure that everything is protected, the password has to be reset. This may not suffice, however, since the Heartbleed bug is powerful, and the website must update the software first.

The virus takes advantage of the OpenSSL software, and through a complex system the bug is able to use a fake packet of data and responds using the data stored in its memory, thus tricking the computer. This is how passwords and other essential information are released. The worst part is that this flaw is very hard to detect. It has been going on for over two years under the radar.

This problem was discovered by the security firm Condenomicon as well as Google security researcher Neel Mehta. In fact, even those who don't use the Internet excessively are often are vulnerable to the virus. Even government websites are have fallen victim to the Heartbleed bug.

So how are major websites protecting themselves?

An online Heartbleed test tool is now allowing website creators to see if their software is strong enough to overcome the virus. Big sites like Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Amazon have already made their own moves.

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