Is Your Website Affected by the Heartbleed Security Bug?

You have probably heard of the Heartbleed bug. But does it affect your website?

In simple terms, it is only website pages that begin with "https://" that could be affected. The "s" (and the normally associated padlock icon) indicate that the page is intended to be secure. This could be for handling things such as financial information, credit card details, and sensitive data.

Web pages that simply start with "http://", ie with no "s", are not intended to be secure. Therefore they have no security, and are not susceptible to Heartbleed. However, if you use such pages for things that should be secure, then you (and your site visitors) have fundamental security issues, and these should be resolved immediately.

Even if your website uses some https pages, only certain combinations of technologies are affected. Spend 1 minute checking out the following.

Go to http://safeweb.norton.com/heartbleed and enter your domain name.

Note that this is just one of a raft of such services available online, and they all come with various disclaimers. Indeed, there have been some reports that some such testing tools may themselves be flawed and not give an accurate and comprehensive analysis, meaning that they can't be relied upon.

If you have concerns, then I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your website.

I sincerely hope that everything is OK. If not, then I hope that you can have it rectified very quickly.

So what do we learn from this. First, there is much more to a website than simply how it looks. Good hosting is important. Second, website marketing is great for attracting new business, but with this increased exposure comes increased responsibility.

By Kenneth Mackay, 22nd April, 2013

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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