How to protect yourself from the Heartbleed bug

The Better Business Bureau is providing guidelines on how to protect the personal information you send online

The Canada Revenue Agency is this week notifying 900 taxpayers who it believes had their social insurance numbers stolen as a result of the Heartbleed bug that has affected hundreds of prominent websites.

The tax agency shut down public access to its online services on Tuesday, April 8, after it discovered that the Heartbleed encryption vulnerability had affected people using the CRA’s website.

The social insurance numbers were stolen over a six-hour period by someone exploiting the vulnerability in many supposedly secure websites that used an open-source encryption system.

The agency is sending registered letters to those taxpayers who are affected, rather than emailing because it doesn’t want fraudsters to use phishing schemes to further exploit the privacy breach.

The CRA website was brought back online on Sunday, April 13 after the CRA patched and re-launched its online services, including the E-file and Netfile online income tax portals.

People who were not able to file their income tax last week because of the website shutdown have been given an extra week to make the tax deadline. CRA has extended the filing deadline to May 5, 2014 before penalties apply.

The Heartbleed bug – which had made websites vulnerable for up to two years before it was discovered last week – gave hackers access to passwords, credit card numbers and other information at many websites.

Websites that were vulnerable to the bug include Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Netflix and Blogspot. Users of those websites are being asked to change their passwords.

The Better Business Bureau of East Kootenay is going one step forward and suggesting that consumers change their passwords on all sites they use, particularly those that retain personal identifying information.

The bureau is providing the following guidelines:

• Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you to verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

• Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password. The bureau suggests choosing passwords that are phrases (for instance, ilovetofish) and making each letter O into a zero to make the password more complex. Look into password management software to help you keep track of really “long and strong” passwords.

• Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber criminals.

• Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

• Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s okay to limit how and with whom you share information.

For businesses, the bureau is recommending that they immediately check to see if their website uses the Open SSL program that has been hit by the Heartbleed bug. If a vulnerability exists, work with a computer professional to install a more secure SSL program on the website.

For more information and other consumer tips, visit bbb.org.

 

With files from Jeff Nagel, Black Press

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read