Sigh. Really. Yet again, everything we know and believe about the security of our data and transactions on the web is shaken by the possibility of a huge flaw. At risk: everything. Exhibit A: The Heartbleed Bug. The flaw, which affects some older versions of common internet encryption software, lets attackers grab both a site’s secure content and the encryption keys that protect that content. As such, a successful intruder could both obtain your private information from a given site and impersonate that site until its operators catch on. Since the vulnerable code is both popular and has been in the wild for as long as two years, there’s a real possibility that some of your online data is at risk.
While patches are already available, they need to be adopted. There’s no way to lock down content if someone steals it so what’s done is done. It’s too early to tell if hackers have and are exploiting this bug, so for the time being it’s advisable that everyone keep a close watch on their internet accounts until the all-clear is given globally.