Starting Monday, the internet-connected world was introduced to a new bug, colorfully named Heartbleed, that has exposed about two-thirds of web servers — and probably about a quarter of all sites — to potential pilfering of sensitive, supposedly encrypted information: passwords, credit card numbers, etc. Google engineers discovered the bug last week in the OpenSSL encryption software, then quietly notified OpenSSL, which started secretly helping companies patch the bug before going public amid fears that hackers had discovered the hole, too.
How big of a deal is Heartbleed? "It's easily the worst vulnerability since mass-adoption of the internet," Matthew Prince, CEO of cybersecurity firm CloudFlare Inc., tells The Wall Street Journal. "It's going to be really bad."
How bad? "We don't know to what extent this flaw has been targeted by hackers, we are in the dark here about the extent of how it is been used," David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, tells CNBC. "We can't quantify the scale of the damage."
So, what can you do about it? Unless you're an IT person at a bank or social media service or other websites that relies on OpenSSL encryption, not a whole lot. Those companies have to update their encryption — a process that involves more than just affixing the OpenSSL patch.
Once a vulnerable site is secure again, you should change your password. Seriously, change it. If a site hasn't fixed the encryption problem, changing your password is useless, or worse.
How can you tell? CNET has a list of popular sites and their Heartbleed status. And a company called LastPass has a useful tool where you can enter any website and it will tell you its vulnerability and advise you what to do. For more information about Heartbleed, here's a brief report from CNBC. Good luck. --Peter Weber
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he was sorry for "any grief or pain" caused by the city sending a bill to the estate of Tamir Rice for medical services rendered to the 12-year-old after he was fatally shot by a police officer.
On Wednesday, the city filed a claim in probate court for $500, which it said was for an ambulance ride and medical treatment Rice received after he was shot in November 2014. Rice was holding an airsoft replica gun in a Cleveland park when he was shot and killed by the officer. The city's finance director said Cleveland did not send a bill to the Rice family, and does not plan on it. The claim was a "routine" part of the probate process, she said, and the estate asked for such bills to identify potential creditors, NBC News reports.
The city's chief corporate counsel said since it was a routine matter, city leaders were not notified of the filing, and the claim will be withdrawn. It was a "mistake of us not flagging it, but it was not a mistake in terms of the legal process," Jackson said. The Rice family did not accept the explanation, and said the incident was "deeply disturbing." Catherine Garcia
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached on a "nationwide cessation of hostilities" in Syria, to begin in one week.
During international talks, the major powers agreed to a plan that would deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Syria on Saturday, CNN reports. The "cessation of hostilities" does not apply to jihadist groups like the Islamic State, Kerry said, and the powers agreed that peace talks in Geneva should pick up again as soon as possible. A diplomatic source told Reuters that there was not a "deal on the immediate end of Russian bombings, but we have a commitment to a process that if it works would change the situation." Catherine Garcia
In Mexico, at least 49 inmates were killed during a brawl that broke out late Wednesday at an overcrowded prison.
The melee at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey lasted for 30 to 40 minutes, and left 12 people injured, five seriously, Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez said. The inmates used bats, sticks, and blades in the riot, and set fire to a supply room. Rodriguez said the brawl stemmed from a dispute between two rival members of the Zetas drug cartel over who controlled the prison. The prison houses 3,800 inmates, double its capacity, with 100 guards, Rodriguez said. No inmates escaped, and federal police and troops were deployed to restore order.
One of the inmates was shot and killed by a guard protecting a group of women, Rodriguez told Radio Imagen. Outside the prison, family members demanded to know the fate of their relatives inside, including Ernestina Grimaldo, whose son is a prisoner. "We want to know how our relatives are doing because they are telling us that there are more than 50 dead and no authority is giving us answers," she told Agence France-Presse. Pope Francis is traveling to Mexico on Friday, and will visit another infamous prison in Ciudad Juarez. Catherine Garcia
Kanye West is deep into the first play of his highly anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden — an event that doubles as the debut of his latest fashion line, Yeezy Season 3. And one lyric during the song "Famous," which features Rihanna and Swizz Beatz, already has people buzzing: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b---h famous."
Yes, this very well could be a reference to the infamous "Imma let you finish" controversy in which Kanye rushed the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs to declare that Beyoncé should have won. However, this isn't the only questionable lyric spotted on The Life of Pablo so far: Other songs include references to Kim Kardashian's ex Ray J and her brother, Rob Kardashian. Samantha Rollins
In a new campaign ad out Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls on people of all genders, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexualities to come together and bring his political revolution to the Oval Office. The 60-second ad, released just days after the Vermont senator trounced Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, flashes face after face onscreen. The individual faces are then torn in half and put together randomly, in a representation of the unity Sanders urges in the ad.
"When we stand together, as white and black and Hispanic and gay and straight and woman and man. When we stand together and demand that this country works for all us, rather than the few, we will transform America," Sanders says in the ad. "And that is what this campaign is about, is bringing people together."
Watch it. Becca Stanek
When will Marco Rubio's troubles end? After being taunted by robots in New Hampshire, the Florida senator's latest struggle has come in the form of a Twix bar that has reportedly gotten the best of his molar.
"I just bit into a Twix bar and I go, 'Man this Twix bar's got something really hard in it. And I go, 'Oh my gosh, I cracked my tooth,'" Rubio told The Washington Post.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 11, 2016
Rubio was on a flight to Washington, D.C. when the incident took place. He visited the dentist the next morning to get a temporary fix on his cracked molar, with a permanent replacement planned from his regular dentist when he gets back to Miami.
The last remaining anti-government protester at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered Thursday afternoon, ending the 6-week-long occupation. Authorities confirmed that the final holdout, David Fry, walked off the refuge and turned himself in to the FBI around 2 p.m. ET Thursday, despite his earlier claims that he would "die a free man."
Fry's three remaining comrades had turned themselves over to federal agents earlier Thursday. The final surrender comes hours after protest leader Ammon Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, was arrested Wednesday night. Becca Stanek