First there was Heartbleed, then Shellshock and now there's POODLE. The name might sound silly, but it's actually an acronym for Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption. It might sound confusing, but the danger is simple: This exploit lets hackers steal information on "encrypted" connections.
The bug exploits an outdated Web communication protocol to hijack pieces of information. Unfortunately, this exploit occurred because so many people don't update their Web browsers.
If a hacker tricked you to connect to a bogus Wi-Fi hotspot, this bug could let them steal a "cookie" from your computer. If you don't have to log in to your email account every time you navigate to it, for example, that's because you have a "cookie" installed that lets your email know that you are who you say you are.
This bug gives hackers a 1-in-256 chance to steal enough information from any Web connections that they'd be able to steal your cookies and pretend to be you.
The bug exploits a very old version of Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is no longer used by modern browsers. But it's still around because some older sites and browsers require it.
Finding out if your computer could be affected by the POODLE bug is much easier than you'd think. All you have to do to check out this helpful website that will instantly tell you whether or not you're vulnerable to hacker attack.
The site also gives you step-by-step instructions on how to turn this dangerous setting off on your browser. It also provides a breakdown of which websites might be affected by the bug as well.
Keep an eye out for more coverage of this dangerous exploit, and be sure to send this to your friends to make sure that they're safe, too.