Wichita, KAN. An alarming security flaw has been discovered, that could put your personal information at risk.
For two years, the problem went undetected. But last week, a Google researcher exposed what's become known as the 'Heartbleed Bug'.
"The vulnerability has been there, but they haven't said that it's been exploited," said Monkey Bytes Computer Repair Owner Matthew Kesterson. "They just now found this this piece of code that was written poorly, but it allows this exploit to take place if someone knows what they're doing."
The type of sites that are impacted are the SSL browsers, those secure sites that begin with HTTPS. That's about two-thirds of websites, so chances are you've visited one of them, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're in danger.
The problem is a hacker could have secretly tuned in to this security lapse before its' discovery, giving them access to redirect encrypted data to their computer. That means your passwords, credit cards, and other personal information had the opportunity to get in the wrong hands.
"You wouldn't know it until they actually used that information against you," Kesterson said. "You know, to open up a fake credit card or to steal money from your bank."
After today, your risk should decrease because a patch has been released to fix the flaw.
Experts recommend changing your passwords just in case your personal information was accessed during the lapse. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and even symbols if possible.