The Heartbleed bug has been on the headlines for the past week as a security flaw that allows hackers to steal passwords and other important information online. The problem lies at the heart of OpenSSL, an encryption type widely used for several years. Experts are in discussion as to how such a threat has remained undetected over the years and that this could have been potentially manipulated by government intelligence or hackers without anyone’s knowledge.

When passwords and other important information are sent from the client to a server, it is not sent in plain text but rather encrypted to ensure that in the event that hackers intercept the packets, the password is incomprehensible. OpenSSL is responsible for this critical step, and with this flaw, passwords are readily available to anyone with the knowledge of intercepting data.

Security professionals demonstrated over the weekend this security flaw and at least 6 people were able to extract private keys of a website as organized by CloudFlare.

Heartbleed started out as a simple programming error, but this issue has become a serious internet problem that has to be resolved. Tech companies all over the world are scrambling to update their security features to address this concern.

Read more about this on the Sydney Morning Herald website.