What is Shellshock?
Shellshock is a new bug that has been discovered in the code of a program called Bash. Bash stands for Bourne Again Shell which is a command-line shell that allows users to launch programs and features by typing in text within the software. It is used in Mac, Linux and Unix operating systems. This bug can be used by cyber criminals in order to take remote control over a computer system, steal data stored on it and make various modifications. Shellshock is rated 10 out of 10 on the scale of vulnerabilities. It could affect up to 500 million computers worldwide. The infection is low on complexity which makes it a vulnerability that the hackers can easily exploit.
How does Shellshock work?
The bug is linked with processing of environmental variables which can affect the behavior of software. The hackers can force a computer running Bash to set specially crafted variables. This would allow them to run programs on other people’s devices. The fact that the security flaw can be used to attacks millions of computers including government machines is certainly something to be concerned about. It has been reported that the vulnerability has already been used for malicious intentions. In order to deal with the threat security “patches” have been distributed. Unfortunately, these patches are incomplete and are not capable of providing full system protection.
Shellshock targets OS X Macs, PCs, routers, modems, servers and websites. If an online shopping or a banking webpage is affected by it, the hackers could get access to your personal and financial details. The vulnerability has been compared to Heartbleed which was discovered earlier this year. Experts say that Shellshock is much more serious, because it provides the cyber criminals with direct access to the computer system whereas Heartbleed could only enable the hackers to extract data from the infected machine.
What can I do to protect my data?
First of all, it is highly recommended not to use credit cards actively for the next few days. Disclosing your financial and personal details online is not safe and you should avoid doing that until security researchers can find out more about the vulnerability. As for your computer safety, you should avoid visiting unreliable webpages. You should also make sure to keep your anti-malware utility up-to-date. All major companies are now creating updates to fix this bug as soon as possible. That is why it is extremely important to have a powerful malware removal and prevention tool so you can keep your system clean and protected. If you want to check if your computer is infection-free, you can download the free malware scanner that will scan your PC and detect all possible threats that could be on your system.