By Charles Leaver

Report details fallout from Heartbleed bug

When news of the Heartbleed bug hit, it understandably sent many users – individuals and businesses among them – into a tailspin of anxiety and even panic. After all, at the time of Heartbleed’s emergence there were assertions from security experts such as Bruce Schneier, who warned that, “On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.” In the intervening weeks, events have occurred that lend credibility to Schneier’s claim. According to The Inquirer, for instance, there have been attacks on organizations, including, most publicly, a malicious incursion on the Canadian Revenue Agency’s internal infrastructure, which resulted in the compromising of records for roughly 900 citizens.

In the wake of the breach, one thing is certain: Better endpoint protection can go a long way toward preventing any future attackers who plan to exploit the vulnerabilities that constitute Heartbleed. But there has been one very positive outcome of the bug. According to a new report, the highly publicized nature of the Heartbleed bug has helped computing users take proactive measures to prevent data loss.

Pew Research Center releases findings on Heartbleed public impact
The new report – which was conducted several weeks after the breach and polled 1,500 people – has revealed the preventive measures many users have taken following learning about the bug. According to the report’s findings, 39 percent of respondents said they decided to either change online passwords or even cancel certain accounts following the breach. These measures were recommended by many industry experts, and the fact that many customers complied shows those warnings did not fall on deaf ears.

For businesses, poll results point to need to firm up endpoint protection
What the poll suggests is that customers are not willing to take a gamble when it comes to defending the privacy of their information. As the poll revealed, 29 percent of people doubt the security of their personal data stemming from the breach, while 6 percent outright believe some of their personal information was breached. In this day and age, if a customer senses that an enterprise is not equipped with the endpoint security and control to protect his or her credit card information, it is very likely that he or she will simply look for some other place to shop.

For companies like Neiman Marcus and Target, the road to recovery from a major breach is a long one paved with significant skepticism on the part of customers. But surmounting these hurdles will not be an issue if a company isn’t attacked in the first place. By implementing endpoint security, a company takes a proactive step against becoming the next major breach headline to make news.

Organizations that lack these defensive measures can find themselves working long and hard to restore their reputation.

As the Canadian Revenue Agency said of their recovery process, “”We are currently going through the painstaking process of analyzing other fragments of data, some that may relate to businesses, that were also removed.”

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