Computers

How to protect your accounts in the post-Heartbleed web

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Most people don?t know what Heartbleed is except that it?s something that makes their online information vulnerable or exposed. This means that almost 500,000 websites are now at risk to data harvesting through the leak. Usernames, passwords, credit card information and other data are now easier to obtain.

Why are all these information now up for grabs to anyone who knows how to exploit Heartbleed? This is because the problem is inherent to the encryption or security measure that protects your information. If your personal information were treasure inside a fortified castle, Heartbleed is the corrupt worker who?s pocketing your gold bit by bit every time you take coins out of your stash. The problem is, all the workers are corrupt.

So how are you going to protect your information? Keep in mind that Heartbleed is a problem with the system; it isn?t a sophisticated attack. Here are the things you need to do to protect your accounts in the post-Heartbleed web:

  • Change your passwords regularly.

Take note that this isn?t the end of the solution; it?s more of a stopgap measure. Since the problem is with the encryption or security software itself, your passwords are always going to be vulnerable as long as the website hasn?t implemented a fix. Changing passwords is simply the first step, and something you should do continuously, say about every few months or so.

  • Be vigilant.

It?s best to turn on your email notifications for important websites and start securing your internet use. Adopt antivirus and password protection software such as AVG, Avira and Norton. Some have free services so you shouldn?t fret about the extra expense. Keep your firewalls, alerts and warnings always on.

  • Opt for two-step login processes.

Websites and services like Google, Battle.net, Origin and Steam allow users to implement two-step login processes for accessing accounts. Google sends a code to your phone or alternate email address every time you input your username and password. Battle.net offers devices and mobile apps that give users exclusive access to account-tied codes for authentication. The additional layer of security can make your account harder to hack.

Check your banking sites and personal services for any update on the bug. Depending on the website administrator?s response to Heartbleed, they might be adopting new encryption software or other measures than the implemented fix. You might need to confirm your account again or change login information.

Photo from: http://heartbleed.com/

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