Heart Bleed Bug Update: Virus Test Can Help Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo Users Check Security, Change Passwords

John CollinsApr 12, 2014 09:17 PM EDT

The Heart Bleed virus bug has sparked alarm for millions of Internet users across the globe, after it was revealed that the Heartbleed virus may have been affecting thousands of sites for years.

Users of popular sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo and others are now being asked to update their security measures to ensure they do not suffer security breaches from the virus.

Website administrators and creators are being asked to update their OpenSSL software.

According to reports this week, the Heart Bleed virus allows hackers to exploit a flaw in the OpenSSL encryption software used by a majority of major websites to steal data such as credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.

Internet users are now being asked to change passwords to protect their information from being taken and abused.

However, if a major website is still vulnerable to the Heart Bleed bug, changing a password won't matter; the website would have to update their software first.

Therefore, an online tool called the Heartbleed test was created to test if a website has been compromised by the virus. Simply type the web address of the website into the box, and it will let you know whether it is safe. Sites like Facebook, Gmail, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter and others have already updated their software.

The Heart Bleed virus flaw was discovered by security firm Codenomicon and Neel Mehta, a Google security researcher.

They said that even if you don't frequently use the internet, you are most likely affected by the bug.

"You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company's site, commercial site, hobby site, sites you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL."

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