Computer experts around the world are scrambling to build a protection from Shellshock, the bug that could affect roughly two-thirds of all Web servers and give hackers complete backdoor access to your machines. That means hackers could use the bug to install whatever programs or malware they want on vulnerable gadgets. Luckily, software companies are beginning to release patches to protect against the bug. But, new discoveries are being made every day showing some computers are still at risk.
Shellshock is a bug that's present on computers that run about half a billion websites. Windows users are thought to be safe from Shellshock because the vulnerable software isn't used in most Microsoft systems. The vulnerability has actually been around for 22 years, but it was only discovered recently. Hackers have already created the first worm to take advantage of it and break into your computer.
In addition to computers and websites, Shellshock also targets your other gadgets connected to the Internet like printers and Wi-Fi routers. This weekend for example, I visited HP's support page to fix a printer and found this notice:
"HP is currently investigating this issue and takes cyber security threats very seriously. Please continue to monitor this page for additional updates. This page will be updated as more information becomes available."
So it appears even a tech giant like HP is trying to make sense of Shellshock.
The new security flaws that have been discovered affect only certain users. Not every computer is at risk of the most recent round of discoveries.
At the moment, the only people who need to worry about patching the Shellshock bug right away are system administrators and people with who have tweaked the advanced Unix settings on machines running OS X or Linux.
Most Mac OS X owners can rest easy. Apple came out and announced that most users don't have to worry about Shellshock.
“The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities," Apple said.
But, Apple is working on a patch of its own for computers that are at risk. Stay tuned for news about Apple's fix if you're an affected user or just want to play it on the safe side.
Every Internet user needs to make sure their anti-virus software is up to date, too. That's because hackers could potentially use the Shellshock bug to infect Web servers and install malware on sites across the Internet. Visit my Security Center to find programs to protect your computer.