Heartbleed bug makes personal data vulnerable to hackers - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Heartbleed bug makes personal data vulnerable to hackers

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A major security hole has been discovered in some computer code designed to protect your information.

It resonates especially with folks here in South Carolina after the data breach at the Department of Revenue a year and a half ago

How often do you use your laptop or desktop throughout the day, or your smart phone for that matter?

Probably so much you don't even think about it.

How many websites do you log into?

Well, even the most secure websites could be susceptible to a dangerous new computer bug, and even if your password's tough to crack, you could still be in danger.

We log on to pay our bills, update our status and send messages you don't want anyone else to see.

Thanks to a new problem called heartbleed hackers have access to what's called the heartbeat between a computer and a website.

"What heartbeat does is it allows you to keep connectivity even when you're not active," said USC Professor Dr. Csilla Farkas.

Email services, shopping websites, social media sites all use heartbeat to keep track of tons of personal information, like your username and password.

And if a hacker has used heartbleed to exploit that information, it doesn't matter if you've got a super strong password or a lousy one, it's all about where the data's stored.

That information, like your Facebook login is stored on a secure server.

But there's a gap in the code that makes that server secure and hackers can use that to access everything.

There's no telling how many people have been affected by heartbleed.

"I would strongly advice everybody not to use the same password for different versions," said Farkas.

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