Some of the MSM (main stream media) have not yet alerted people to the importance of an announcement by the OpenSSL project regarding a serious bug in their code (04/07/2014). The code affects 1,000,000+ servers (web, email, banking systems and others). There is a fix available but it will take a few days (at best) for companies to implement the fix and re-acquire new crypto keys and certificates.

In the mean time, servers with this error have no real protection, all crypto keys, data on the server are open*.

There are recommendations to verify with your providers, bank, and other web access providers as to the state of their patches. There are some systems that are NOT affected but only the providors can confirm that status.

* That data leakage means that servers vulnerable to Heartbleed are less secure than they would be if they simply had no encryption at all. "This allows attackers to eavesdrop communications, steal data directly from the services and users, and to impersonate services and users," explained security group Codenomicon, which discovered the flaw.

The OpenSSL project has created a webpage to inform everyone about the issues surrounding the Heartbleed bug.

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

What leaks in practice?

We have tested some of our own services from attacker's perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication.

How to stop the leak?

As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL [ht tps:// ] has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.

There is an extensive FAQ at the bottom of their statement indicating remedies, affected systems and remedial actions.