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Heartbleed bug shuts down federal websites
SECURITY

Heartbleed bug shuts down federal websites 

The action is “being taken as a precautionary measure until the appropriate security patches are in place and tested.”

“Canadians will be unable to access certain Government of Canada websites while measures are being applied,” said a statement on the Treasury Board’s website. “We understand that this will be disruptive, but, under the circumstances, this is the best course of action to protect the privacy of Canadians.”

Heartbleed is caused by a programming error in OpenSSL software and allows hackers to extract sensitive data, such as passwords and credit card numbers, from servers.

It was only recently discovered by Neel Mehta, a researcher with Google Security, although the vulnerability has been in widespread use since March 2012.

Security experts have advised the public to change their passwords on sites that have already been patched, but cautioned that changing passwords on unpatched websites would have little effect.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was the first federal website to shut down its services, effectively blocking citizens from filing their tax returns online. The CRA has indicated that it hopes to have the website patched by the weekend, but as of yet has not given a date for the return of its services.

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