Heartbleed and Its Impact on eCommerce
The Heartbleed bug is a serious error in Open SSL, which is encryption software that powers most of the secure communications on the Internet. The bug was detected on April 7, 2014 by the computer security researchers.
The standard SSL software has a heartbeat option that causes a computer at one end of the SSL link to send a short message just to confirm that the other computer at the other end is still online by getting a response back. Recently researchers found that it is possible to send a similar type of message that can be malicious in nature to trick the computer at the other side so that it triggers and start sending secret information which as actually not asked for.
Attackers can use this technique to seek important and confidential information to decrypt secret keys, personal information and passwords, private memory, and credit card numbers etc.
If any attacker starts getting access to the secret keys, he can very easily sort out the information that servers use to transfer and store sensitive and confidential information.
Website operators have started updating their software after the announcement of this bug and take necessary precautions to secure their sites.
Heartbleed attack is focused mainly on the on servers. Users can do almost nothing to protect them in case if they are using a vulnerable website. But it is always good to update the software to ensure that any previously stored passwords may not be used for cyber attacking purposes.
What Impact It Had On Ecommerce Websites
Heartbleed has affected millions of eCommerce sites. The eCommerce websites that used SSL encryption were prone to get affected by Heartbleed bug if they accepted credit cards. And obviously there will be no eCommerce website that works without any online transaction.
It is the job of your network security and operations team to immediately handle the issue and protect your server, keys and certificates. It is always good to regularly update passwords, and other important credentials like payment gateways and APIs.
eCommerce shopping portals need to regularly check their login details and history by using their admin account and track any unusual activity. This will help you to know when and what all had happened in your earlier logins, your store’s activities and user sessions.
If your eCommerce site is facing the problem it is good to immediately contact your network administrator and upgrade the Open SSL implementation as early as possible. Also remember to cycle the SSL keys and certificates of your eCommerce web-store. Also change and update your credentials like passwords and payment gateway credentials.
How Safe It Is to Still Shop Online
Since the researchers found it out as soon as the problem was hit users can be assured that most of the eCommerce shopping websites will be soon trying to be secured against the Heartbleed bug. Users came feel same while they shop online.
It is better even for the normal Internet users to regularly change their online credentials. Do that now rather allowing Hearbleed bug to give you a heart attack.
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