Many of you may have heard about the heartbleed bug that was announced within the past day. We’ve asked one of our clients, LammTech, to share their thoughts and recommendations.
The recent discovery of the ‘Heartbleed’ threat serves as a reminder that anyone who uses internet services such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft should exercise routine steps to protect their passwords. Following these simple steps will go a long way to protect your digital assets and identity:
1. Change your passwords frequently
2. Do not use the same password for all of your accounts
3. Use difficult passwords (eg mix numbers, characters, and symbols when possible)
4. When you hear of vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, change your passwords immediately
After password vigilance, the next and equally important step is to always monitor your accounts, including paper statements and electronic statements. Most statements arrive routinely at the same time of the month or billing cycle. Key indicators of potential problems may be
1. Numerous password request emails indicate someone may be trying to guess your password or change it
2. Routine monthly bills stop arriving in your postal mail
3. Unknown or out of the ordinary charges appear on bank and/or credit card statements
4. Email requests for shipping address changes from your online vendors
If any of these occur, contact your vendor, bank, or credit card agency to alert them of your suspicion.
At this time, this is an issue that has to be addressed by the thousands of businesses that host websites and services. As users all we can do is try to monitor and protect our accounts and watch for unauthorized activity. If such activity is recognized – respond immediately.
A good resource for information should your identity be compromised is the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.