Heartbleed Explained In Simple Terms

Recently, internet experts discovered a serious bug that has been lurking around the internet for several years – the bug has been labelled as Heartbleed, which is responsible for several security breaches online, such as stealing users’€™ account information on Yahoo, Imgur, Flickr, Hidemyass and even popular online dating site Okcupid. As most internet users are not experts in cybersecurity, here is a simple explanation of the internet bug Heartbleed:

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)

The basis of all online transactions is formed by technologies called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). When internet users see a padlock next to the address of a secure website, that means the technologies reinforce the real identities of browsers and users. Thanks to this form of cybersecurity, this helps to keep users’ personal information between the user and BigSite.com, the website responsible for handling all users’€™ credit card information.

Problem in OpenSSL software

While SSL and TLS have no problem and continue to reinforce users’€™ security online, experts recently discovered that there is a hole in the software library OpenSSL, which is supposed to help users receive safety and protection from SSL/TLS. However, the flaw in its design has created a breach in personal information and allowed hackers to access private information easily.


As a result, the hole in the design of OpenSSL allows hackers to view all sorts of personal information online, such as usernames, passwords and even the credit card numbers of internet users. Other than that, this security breach has even allowed hackers to view the data management of businesses online, which can make or break the reputation of a business if the hackers chose to meddle with it online.

Luckily experts discovered this security breach before there were drastic global consequences. The OpenSSL software has been fixed, therefore there should not be anymore major cybersecurity breaches for a while. However, to be on the safe side, experts urge users to immediately change their password information on all popular sites such as Gmail, Facebook and websites linked to their personal credit card accounts. It may not seem like hackers would target the average joe out there, but is better to be safe than sorry in the internet world.

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Clarissa Turner is an English major graduate from New York University. Due to her academic background, she has developed a passion in writing and informing others on important stories around the world. As she is a geek at heart, she has combined both her passions to write quality articles on geek-related news.

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