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
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called on the military to upgrade the service records of LGBT veterans who were kicked out of the military for their sexuality under "don't ask, don't tell" and even before its 1993 enactment, The Washington Post reports.
"They were given less than honorable discharges," Clinton said Saturday in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization. "I can't think of a better way to thank those men and women for their service than by upgrading their service records."
Clinton thanked the crowd for helping her change her mind on same-sex marriage, and vowed to never treat support from LGBT voters as a "political bargaining chip."
It's a phenomenon called "cute aggression." I've got it bad and you probably do to.
Seeing something cute can bring out a type of verbal and physical aggression in some people, according to a recent study. Maybe you've felt this way — you see a photo of a puppy or watch a video of a baby giggling and you can't help but grit your teeth, ball your hands into fists, and scream out, "Ahhhh, I can't even handle it!" Whatever you're looking at is so adorable it actually drives you crazy.
The feeling is similar to a loss of control. Researchers have two theories for it. One reason such cute photos drive us wild is because we can't reach out and give into that natural care instinct — it's just a photo, after all.
The more interesting theory is that such cuteness is too much of a good thing, and we're overwhelmed. To regulate those emotions, we give the positive feeling a bit of negativity. This happens in other ways, too, like if you're so happy you cry.
If you want to hear more about "cute aggression," as well as the other interesting and surprising facts that I learned this week, listen to this episode of "This week I learned" below. And, If you like what you hear, you can subscribe to The Week's podcasts on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. —Lauren Hansen
The South Florida Museum is arguably celebrating National Fossil Day in the best way possible Saturday — by unveiling a giant fossilized poop exhibit. In fact, it's Guinness-certified as the world's largest fossilized poop exhibit, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
More than 1,000 "prized nuggets," as education director Jeff Rodgers likes to call them, are on display in the Bradenton museum. One sample, dubbed "Precious," is thought to be from an ancient crocodile.
"Twenty-million-year-old crocodilian coprolites, spirals of fossilized fish poop, bags of mineralized frog feces!" Rodgers said. "That is a good day at work."
— South Florida Museum (@SouthFLMuseum) October 3, 2015
Please take a moment to honor the witness and two paleontology specialists who, according to a museum statement, had to inspect each specimen "to determine if it was a true poop fossil or just a wannabe fossilized poop." Julie Kliegman
NCAA investigating claim that Louisville used strippers and prostitutes to recruit basketball players
The University of Louisville and the NCAA are investigating claims that a former director of basketball operations paid escorts to have sex with new recruits.
In Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, a book released Friday, author Katrina Powell alleged she was repeatedly hired by Andre McGee to provide strippers and prostitutes for basketball recruits' campus visits for 22 parties between 2010 and 2014. Powell claimed she earned more than $10,000 for the service, which involved herself, three of her daughters, and other women allegedly participating in sex acts with players, who are reportedly named in the book.
McGee, who left Louisville in 2014, is now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The school put him on paid administrative leave Friday pending review. He has not admitted to any wrongdoing, ESPN reports. Meanwhile, the publishing company said it hired investigators and a Pulitzer-winning journalist to vet Powell's claims.
"To say I'm disheartened, disappointed would be the biggest understatement I've made as a coach," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said in a news conference. Julie Kliegman
Divers discovered the wreck of a B-17 bomber shot down in Italy during World War II on Friday, The Telegraph reports. The "Flying Fortress" find off the coast of Sicily comes after months of work from historians, divers, and Sicilian residents old enough to remember the raid.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) October 2, 2015
By matching up the aircraft information with U.S. records, the crew confirmed the B-17, dubbed Devils from Hell, was shot down by German fighters on April 18, 1943. All nine crew members died.
The wreck, which is mostly intact, will stay in deep water as a military war grave. Julie Kliegman
A priest who game out as gay was fired from the Vatican on Saturday, just one day before the start of the weeks-long Synod of Bishops.
"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
At the global meeting, bishops will discuss, among other things, the Catholic church's outreach to the LGBT community.
Krzysztof Charamsa, who told Italian and Polish newspapers he was in love with his boyfriend, can retain his priesthood, but will not be allowed to work for the Vatican or pontifical universities, The Associated Press reports.
"This is a very personal, difficult, and tough decision in the Catholic church's homophobic world," said Charamsa, 43, in a news conference alongside his partner.
The move to fire Charamsa comes after the Vatican confirmed Pope Francis met with both same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis and an openly gay couple during his U.S. trip. Facing criticism, the Vatican said Francis did not endorse the Kentucky clerk's views. Julie Kliegman
Following NASA's groundbreaking announcement Monday that there's evidence of liquid water on Mars, you probably want more space in your life. Good news: NASA delivered, again.
After a lengthy digitization process, the government agency uploaded some 8,400 high-resolution photos of Apollo missions to Flickr. The dump includes every photo that Apollo astronauts with Hasselblad cameras shot on the moon, The Verge reports.