FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 10, 2014

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

9:36 a.m. ET

Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton 56 to 25 percent among white men, according to a recent survey — and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believes she knows why.

"So many times, white — non-college-educated — white males have voted Republican," she said in an interview with PBS on Tuesday. "They voted against their own economic interests because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G's — God being the woman's right to choose."

Pelosi advised Clinton to attract more white male voters to her campaign "with an economic agenda to create jobs" because, for this demographic, "It's about the economy."

A New York Times report last week suggested the Clinton camp is already worried about its deficit with white men and picked Sen. Tim Kaine for the veep slot in an effort to address that problem. Bonnie Kristian

9:28 a.m. ET

Bill Clinton has a reputation for being a brilliant public speaker, although his appeal might be quickly wearing off. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow slammed the former president for being un-feminist in his introduction of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention Tuesday night, telling her fellow commentators that, "I think the beginning of the speech was a controversial way to start, honestly, talking about the girl, a girl, leading with this long story about him being attracted to an unnamed girl and thinking about whether he was starting something he couldn't finish, building her whole political story, for the whole first half of the speech around her marriage to him."

Maddow gave the end of his speech an "A+" but went as far as to say "the top of the speech I found shocking and rude." Watch her full justification, below. Jeva Lange

9:08 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday night by becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major American political party. Some in newspaper photo departments around the country, though, might have missed that memo:

Ahem, that was Hillary Clinton making history, not the other "Clinton"…

Yes, sure, Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker for the night. But... really? Jeva Lange

8:56 a.m. ET

When it comes to swiping that company credit card, usually you're just getting a free fancy, schmoozy dinner or commercial airline flight at best. But if you're astronaut Buzz Aldrin, your job required you to take quite the extended business trip — and even interplanetary travel must be formally expensed:

Yes, folks: Even as one of the first two humans to walk on the Moon, Aldrin had to submit to the corporate monstrosity that is bureaucratic paperwork. Kimberly Alters

8:48 a.m. ET

Michelle Obama reminded Americans of the darker side of our history when she spoke at the Democratic convention Monday night of waking up every morning "in a house that was built by slaves." The stirring line, though, was one of hope and progress: "I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn," she went on.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly wasn't having it. The political commentator attempted to "fact-check" Obama's statement by saying that "slaves that worked [on the White House] were well fed and had decent lodgings…So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well."

Of course, the point isn't how "well" some slaves might have been treated, or if there were other workers. The point is, slaves built the White House.

This shouldn't even need to be written, but if you ever feel like defending the use of slaves — don't. Jeva Lange

7:50 a.m. ET

Following Tuesday night's historic nomination of the first woman from a major party for president, you can say we've come a long way as a nation since 1995 — the year that Walmart pulled T-shirts that read "someday a woman will be president" from their shelves, calling the message "offensive":

A Walmart spokeswoman said the company stopped selling the shirts at the only store that had them after one customer complained. The store sold about two-thirds of its 204 shirts.

"It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor," Jane Bockholt said. She refused to reveal the nature of the customer's complaint. [The Associated Press]

"Promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country," the shirt's designer, Ann Moliver Ruben, said at the time. She explained that, according to Walmart buyer Sharon Higginbotham, the message on the shirt went "against Walmart's family values."

(Calle Hack)

After outcry from women's groups, the shirts later returned to Walmart shelves, The Telegraph reports. Jeva Lange

7:25 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With Hillary Clinton confirmed as the Democratic nominee, Day 3 of the Democratic convention will feature a speech by keynote speaker President Barack Obama, who defeated Clinton in the primaries eight years ago. Obama will reportedly defend his own time in office and promote Clinton as the best chance of extending his legacy.

Vice President Joe Biden, who some thought might step up to challenge Clinton for the nomination this year, will also speak, as will former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who at one point considered a run as an Independent.

America will also meet Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine on Wednesday amid cries of dissatisfaction by Bernie Sanders supporters, who have called him an "unacceptable" pick. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads