Websites reeling after Heartbleed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Websites reeling after Heartbleed

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Websites are racing to fix a security flaw known as "Heartbleed."

If you shop online or use social media, the damage may already be done. Changing passwords is even more important, but not until the server issues have been worked out and the bug is gone.

If you use websites with shopping carts, Savannah's Digital Doc said they may have been most vulnerable to this security bug.

"Essentially half of all website shopping carts use this software called Open SSL. They are exposed to this bug, Heartbleed," Eric Sharpe, Digital Doc, said.

Sharpe said the creators of this bug picked a prime target as consumers have turned to the internet more and more.

"It's definitely going after shopping cart software and anyone who logs in and stores information," he said.

Two out of three web servers use the encryption technology that could be vulnerable to the flaw. While some major websites, including Amazon, Yahoo, and Google, said they've already taken steps to secure their sites, Sharpe says it's the smaller sites, mom and pop retailers, who are more likely to be on the long list of Heartbleed victims.

"This is probably one of the largest bugs that's been found in the history of the internet," Sharpe said.

Major social networking sites, according to Sharpe, weren't lucky either, with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr all effected.

Twitter still isn't sure. Each of them has a patch for Heartbleed and experts recommend you change your passwords once websites confirm they've taken steps to fix the bug. 

The Digital Doc says scariest part is the bug may have existed for two years until anyone found it.

Experts suggest  taking a break for a few days from any online shopping, financial service sites or any webpage requiring sensitive information. 

If you aren't sure your password is in jeopardy, do some investigating.

"There are websites you can check to see if the websites you go to have been affected," Sharpe said.

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