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Cloudflare’s Security Disaster Leaks User Data

It appears that Yahoo isn’t the only company that’s had a breach in their security system. Cloudflare had a small bug in its code that has put an unknown number of users at risk. Passwords, cookies, messages, and other information has been leaked throughout the internet. The situation has been given the scary name, Cloudbleed.

Cloudflare, which is one of the world’s largest internet security companies, reacted rather quickly once they found out and did what they could to put an end to the leaking of user information. They were alerted by Google’s Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy who first discovered the vulnerability in the system.

Yet its reported that websites backed by Cloudflare have been exposed for a few months now. The earliest leak of data, the company says, goes back to September 2016. With that amount of time, it can’t be certain if hackers have already gotten ahold of the information and made use of it. This is a bit scary when one considers the companies that use Cloudflare like Uber, FitBit, and OKCupid. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the massive amount of sensitive information that has potentially been compromised is unknown.

When it comes to Cloudflare, many will read this and wonder what it has to do with you. The fact is that Cloudflare is responsible for a majority of the technology that runs “web performance and security” for many of the websites people use on a daily basis.

In its early days, it began as an application that as used for detecting spam. However, since then the company has expanded in order to accommodate many different aspects. For example, Cloudflare is able to give websites the advantages of content delivery, domain name server (DNS), and security protection against attacks like direct denial of service.

When you think of all the major things the company does, it’s hard to believe that it was just one glitch in Cloudflare’s code that allowed for the hack to take place.

Cloudflare had started using a new HTML parser, which scans code and takes any useful information from it, called cf-html. Yet according to reports, an error in the code caused what is known as a buffer overrun vulnerability. In other words, when the software by Cloudflare attempted to save users data information into a limited amount of temporary space, that space got full. When the buffer became full, the data was sent to some other location, possibly another website.

Some sites like Google might have cached some of the information though its not the only sight to have possibly done so. Therefore, Cloudflare has to search around for this data before hackers and thieves get their hands on it first.

There’s really no direct way to tell who has been effected by this catastrophe. Since this took place over a six-month period, there’s an unknown amount of data from a great number of users that could just be floating around in cyber space. Another discouraging fact is that, while Cloudflare has since patched up the hole in its code, so much data has already leaked and been cached throughout different websites.

While Cloudflare has fixed its code, the real job is search around to different sites to look for the missing data before it falls into the wrong hands.

So how do you go about protecting yourself? Well the reality of the fact is that nothing is ever safe on the internet. People are encouraged to change their passwords on a regular basis, but they can’t know when something like this will happen to companies like Cloudflare.

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