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The Pew Research Center, based in Washington, D.C., released data from a recent study indicating that less than half of the Internet users who are aware of the Heartbleed security flaw "_have taken steps to protect themselves_" against its threats, according to a recent article published on the EWeek website. In addition, the report indicates that the study, published on April 30, calculates numerous data – including demographics and economic specifications – which outlined their beliefs why certain groups responded to Heartbleed and others did not.

Heartbleed – technically known as "CVE-2014-0160″ and also referred to as _"TLS heartbeat read overrun_, "was originally exposed by the open-source OpenSSL project on April 7, 2014, according to the article. However, the security flaw proved its global impact by then allowing an individual hacker or invader "_access to information that is supposed to be encrypted with SSL_" leaving _"servers and embedded devices including mobile phones_" extremely vulnerable since "_OpenSSL is widely used_, "according to this report.

The Pew study data, compiled from a survey of 1,501 American adult Internet users conducted between April 23-27, found that 64 percent had heard about the Heartbleed flaw, but "_only 39 percent took steps to protect themselves_" by simply "_changing passwords and avoiding potentially vulnerable online services_, "according to the article. The study also brought demographics into the mix, which applies a broader stroke to understanding the response to the threat. According to the article, the study revealed that "_American households with incomes of less than $30,000, only 33 percent had changed passwords_" but "_46 percent of American households earning $75,000 or more changed passwords_" in response to the security flaw.

Pew researchers also discovered, according to the report, that "69 percent of Internet users see their online information as being generally secure_" and unfortunately "_only 6 percent noted that they believed that personal information was stolen as a result of Heartbleed."

Read more about this research study in the complete article and see how a specific percentage of the public reacted to this security flaw which proved to have a global impact.

Written by Bryon Turcotte  /  May 2, 2014

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