A major security vulnerability on the internet, dubbed “Heartbleed”, has alarm bells ringing across the globe. Here’s why the cyber world is calling it the ultimate cyber catastrophe A major online security vulnerability that supposedly affected thousands of websites over the last two years was uncovered earlier this week, prompting a scramble to close the security hole. The bug, labeled “Heartbleed”, may have allowed hackers to secretly extract sensitive consumer information and go undetected; however, it is equally likely that so far no one has actually taken advantage of the flaw. A Finnish security firm, Codenomicon, first discovered the bug, and Neel Mehta, an independent researcher working with Google Inc. (GOOG), diagnosed the threat at around the same time. Heartbleed affects OpenSSL, an open-source encryption technology that is used on about 66% of all web servers. OpenSSL is used in many HTTPS sites that collect personal and/or financial information, and while most internet users do not exactly know what the encryption technology does, they do interact with it on a daily basis. Interaction can be as simple as entering in a password for an email account, or as complicated as filing tax returns electronically.