Computer bug could compromise your personal information

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) -It’s called the “heartbleed” bug, and it’s affecting a lot of websites that are supposed to protect your online accounts.

Online security breaches at major retailers like Target have many people concerned about their information online. And now “heartbleed” is adding to the problem.

Greenfield Community College Chief Information Officer Michael Assaf told 22News this is not your ordinary computer virus and your anti-virus software won’t protect you. “It wasn’t developed to be a malicious piece of software. “It’s really an opening or hole in the system that when you probe into it, it will respond back with data that it really shouldn’t have.”

It’s pretty scary. “Heartbleed” gives hackers access to your username or password,  information that’s usually protected by encrypted sites.

However, there are still some steps you can take. One of the main ways to protect yourself from a virus is making sure your computer software is up to date. Also make sure to use strong passwords for your online accounts.

GCC librarian Liza Harrington told 22News what other steps you can take to make sure your information hasn’t been compromised. “There are 3 credit companies that give you 1 free credit report a year. So every 4 months you can be checking some type of credit report. You can be monitoring what’s going on with your social security number and your finances.”

Computer virus threats have some people changing their online habits. We used to do our banking online. We used to pay our bills online. And now we don’t do it you know because we’ve been cheated before by a few hundred dollars. People have gotten into our accounts and we just don’t trust them anymore.”

A cyber patch has been created to close the security hole.

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