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Heartbleed virus threatens those considering personal bankruptcy

Many New Jersey residents have heard of the Heartbleed Virus and the need to change their passwords, but they might not realize what it is all about, how it works and why it is so dangerous. The fact is, the Heartbleed Virus could be putting many individuals' credit cards at risk of being hacked by thieves. For those who are struggling with credit issues, and perhaps even contemplating personal bankruptcy, the last thing one needs is an extra charge on a credit card that one might be having a hard time paying off.

How does the Heartbleed Virus work? According to researchers, the data encryption technology that keeps our passwords and credit cards safe could have a hole in it. Essentially, it is a backdoor that hackers can exploit without leaving a trace that they were there. They can take a peak into secure servers, steal credit card numbers and start using the information they find for identity theft purposes.

The issue affects one of the most common encryption systems on the internet, which is called OpenSSL. Ironically, many of the companies who are employing the most up-to-date and technologically advanced encryption systems are the ones most affected by this security breach. Because it is so commonly used, researchers are saying that people should change their passwords on all of their online accounts immediately.

Fortunately, a fix was recently released so that service providers can re-secure their web servers. However, consumers are encouraged to change their passwords regularly to avoid being subjected to an attack. They are also encouraged to supply a backup cell phone number for identity verification purposes.

For anyone in New Jersey who is struggling to pay off his or her bills, and who may be considering personal bankruptcy, the idea that someone could take one's credit card information and use it to rack up even more debt is particularly unsettling. Fortunately, credit card owners are protected from this kind of theft, and usually credit card companies are quick to wipe it off one's balance. As for the additional problem of paying down one's balance, on the other hand, personal bankruptcy and other debt management solutions are available.

Source: Fox News, "'Heartbleed' threat puts passwords, credit cards and other data at risk", , April 8, 2014

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