IDG News Service — Much of the talk on the Web this week has focused on the Heartbleed security fiasco. Still unsure as to what's happening with Heartbleed and how it impacts you? Here's our quick-and-dirty guide.
What exactly is Heartbleed?
Heartbleed is a vulnerability in OpenSSL, an open-source implementation of the SSL/TLS encryption protocol.A When exploited, the flaw could expose information stored in a server's memory, including not-at-all-trivial things like your username, password, and other bits of personal data. Since OpenSSL is particularly popular among website administrators, a significant number of your favorite websites may be affected by Heartbleed--research firm Netcraft puts the number at half-a-million sites.
Should I panic?
Panicking is not terribly productive, and, since it involves a lot of running around like a chicken with your head cut off, potentially exhausting. That's no way to go through life. Still, this is a serious matter, and it'll require a little more action on your part than adapting a "this too shall pass" mindset.