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THE NEWS WRAP: Encrypted data at risk due to Heartbleed bug

Thursday, 10 April 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Security experts are urging website owners to update their web server software after the discovery of a bug called “Heartbleed” that puts encrypted data, such as passwords and credit card numbers, at risk.


The vulnerability is in an encryption program called OpenSSL, which is a piece of encryption software used on two-thirds of web servers worldwide.


Because the software is predominantly used on the server side, instead of on end-user devices such as PCs or smartphones, the problem needs to be fixed by website owners.


After going undetected for two years, the vulnerability became public knowledge on Monday, with attacks increasing after tools used for scanning for vulnerable became widely available.


“The problem is insidious. Now it is amateur hour. Everybody is doing it,” Kurt Baumgartner from Kaspersky Lab told Reuters.


Facebook shifts to larger ads


Facebook has announced it is moving towards fewer large ads down the right-hand column of the desktop PC version of its website.


The ads will be the same proportions as ads that appear in users’ news feeds.


The social media giant claims user engagement is up to three times higher with the new format ads than its older design, which displayed up to seven display ads in the right-hand column.


PC shipments fall, yet again


PC shipments have fallen for the eighth consecutive quarter, according to two separate reports from market research firms IDC and Gartner.


According to IDC, PC shipments fell by 4.4% year-on-year for the March quarter, with Gartner putting the fall at a more modest 1.7%.


“The transition to more mobile devices and usage modes is unlikely to stop, although the short-term impact on PC shipments may slow as tablet penetration rises,” IDC said.


“There is potential for PC shipments to stabilize, but not much opportunity for growth.”




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