'Heartbleed Bug' potentially puts your personal information at r - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'Heartbleed Bug' potentially puts your personal information at risk

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The name itself proves it can be potentially painful—leaving your personal information at the finger tips of cyber-crooks.

It's called the Heartbleed Bug, and computer expert Gregory Paul Johnson says it’s a result of a breakdown in internet security in the popular OpenSSL, a cryptographic software library.

Johnson is the director of Iowa City Technology Services and says the OpenSSL is an open project that any programmer or coder can work on, designed to prevent hackers from getting personal information.

He says with the glitch in the encryption technology, information submitted by users on banking, shopping, or social media websites, could potentially be at risk.

However, he says what’s even more alarming is the sites designed to be most secure are the ones most vulnerable, like Facebook and Google.

“We don’t know the extent to which it’s been exploited, that’s part of the problem is that it’s hard to detect with this,” said Johnson. “Some of these companies have come forward promptly and said you know what we were using the OpenSSL.”

He says many websites have come forward alerting users, letting them know they've used the OpenSSL and have resolved the problem, but still advise that your password be changed.

“At some place you've been exposed to some system that was vulnerable and unless you have different usernames and different passwords for these different systems you've allowed some information to get out there,” said Johnson.

He recommends changing all your passwords on all websites.

Johnson says make sure they are very complex and never use a password you've used in the past.

“It’s really a wake up call for people to do what they should be doing anyway,” said Johnson.

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