PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s called Heartbleed, and has even generated its own symbol.
But do you know what it is?
“I heard that it can affect your accounts, bank accounts, Facebook accounts, personal information, that type of stuff,” said one person we talked to.
Heartbleed is the latest computer glitch affecting millions of internet users on thousands of popular websites.
Cyber security experts say Heartbleed is a bug, not a virus.
What’s the difference?
A virus is something created maliciously by a bad guy to get at your computer systems. A bug is just an encryption problem that offers the opportunity for a bad guy to get at some of your personal information.
Either way, it shouldn’t be ignored.
“It can definitely be pretty serious, yes,” cyber security expert Eric Mikulas told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
Mikulas thinks Heartbleed was not a deliberate attempt to hurt.
“Writing software is incredibly hard, and little bugs pop up all the time,” Mikulas said. “I doubt someone did this on purpose, just something that wasn’t found until it was out in the wild.”
But Mikulas warns that — while the big on-line internet sites have corrected the problem — some smaller internet sites may not have.
Norton has a free on line tool that lets you check out whether your favorite sites are affected, but Gary Holt of Mt. Washington got a specific notice.
“I got some emails from my bank, a couple other things — Twitter, Facebook — that also had notices to change passwords,” said Holt.
To keep your heart from bleeding, Mikulas has simple advice: “Never reuse your password. Or if you do, never use the same password for email anywhere else or any relevant credit card sites or anything. Just make sure your passwords are changed if something like this pops up again.”