Many companies still vulnerable to Heartbleed malware

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More than a year after the revelation that Community Health Systems had suffered a data breach affecting more than 4.5 million patients because of a malware, many companies remain susceptible to it.

The malware, known as Heartbleed, infects systems and allows hackers to steal information usually protected under encryption by the SSL/TLS system. The SSL/TLS system allows for security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as Web, email, instant messaging and some virtual private networks.

A scan of public servers conducted by Salt Lake City-based security research and consulting company Venafi found that 416 of 2,000 companies listed on the Forbes Global 2000, a listing of the largest companies in the world, have fully completed security corrections to protect their systems from Heartbleed, known as remediation. That is slightly more than the 387 that had completed the remediation by the time of Venafi's July 2014 survey, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"A year after Heartbleed revealed massive vulnerabilities in the foundation for global trust online, a major alarm needs to be sounded for this huge percentage of the world's largest and most valuable businesses who are still exposed to attacks like those executed against Community Health Systems," said Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi, in a news release. "Given the danger that these vulnerabilities pose to their business, remediating risks and securing and protecting keys and certificates needs to be a top priority not only for the IT team alone, but for the CEO, boards of directors and CISO."

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