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Posted at 2:03 p.m. on April 10, 2014
Don’t leave tech problems up to “Geek squads,” warns Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer — be proactive about changing your passwords.
That is Gainer’s plea for congressional employees in the wake of news that a massive security loophole, nicknamed “Heartbleed,” has exposed millions of Americans’ credit card, email, banking and social media credentials to potential hackers.
In response to a question about the Senate’s response to Heartbleed, Gainer sent this email to CQ Roll Call urging the Capitol community to be on high alert:
“For most average users of the internet warnings about vulnerabilities, security flaws, bugs, encryption standards, program errors and my favorite, ‘OpenSSL’ seem so much like somebody else’s problem. Isn’t that why ‘Geek squads’ were invented?
“We hear so many warnings about password best practice it has become just background noise, elevator music. However, we should be concerned about our personal accounts on websites. There have been, are and will be vulnerabilities and darn it, complacency is not a good thing.
“Inside the Senate we have everyone’s back. Outside the Senate not so much as all we can do is nag. If you have not changed your passwords in the past few days, if you use the same one over and over on all your devices, give yourself an ‘A’ for efficiency and a ‘F’ for listening skills.”