For the past week, the entire world has been consumed by news about Heartbleed, the massive OpenSSL flaw that has reportedly affected 66% of the World Wide Web, potentially exposing passwords and sensitive information of millions of users. If the idea of pervasive personal security breaches weren’t so scary, we’d be tired of hearing about it. But now that the initial hubbub has died down, and the major players affected have issued patches to cover the hole, cooler heads have begun to examine this new phenomenon. And Heartbleed might just be the scariest thing to happen to the Internet – and have the best marketing team around.
Heatbleed might just be the first security bug that has its own logo. It also has its own website, which defines the bug and lists affected sites, controlled by the Finnish company that originally detected the security breach and reported on it to media outlets and industry officials, Codenomicon. In fact, cynics and curious expers alike have pointed out that Codenomicon has actually profited from the notoriety surrounding Heartbleed – and that all of their motives may not have been as altruistic as protecting web users.
For example, take that Heartbleed website. It is very attractive, with a minimalist design and the logo that has now become synonymous with Heartbleed. Some users have accused Codenomicon of having its priorities in poor order by regiseting the website domain, designing the Heartbleed logo, and starting the “information machine” in order to capitalize off of the ensuing media frenzy. However, TechCrunch did a little sleuthing, and found that the company registered the site’s domain only after news of the bug broke, and that Codenomicon emphatically states that the site’s only purpose is to serve as a resource for people concerned about the bug and looking for more information.
No Real Winners
Regardless of whether or not you believe Codenomicon is exploiting their discovery of the Heartbleed bug (and they are gaining international recognition for this work), you have to remember who the real bad guys are: malicious phishers and hackers who would exploit the holes in the OpenSSL in order to gain access to your sensitive information. It’s important to act now to protect yourself from these vulnerabilities – install the patches issued by the sites you use regularly, such as Dropbox or Gmail, change your passwords, and diversify your passwords. Even if Codenonicon comes out as a winner due to Heartbleed, you should be more concerned with the potential loser – you and your data.
Heartbleed started out as a tiny coding mistake in the OpenSSL system – and grew to be one of the biggest security threats the Internet has seen. When coding and developing anything online, you have to be careful – which is why it’s best to use a team with a solid quality assurance and testing process in place. And while your website might not require anything as potentially serious as OpenSSL did, it would be wise to implement a many-step testing process. Don’t know how? Let inSegment’s development team show you how.