Heartbleed's Impact

  • April 30, 2014

The Heartbleed security flaw on one of the most widely used “secure socket” encryption programs on the internet had an impact on a notable share of internet users,1 according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center:

  • 39% of internet users say that after they learned of the online security problems they took steps to protect their online accounts by doing such things as changing passwords or canceling accounts.
  • 29% of internet users believe their personal information was put at risk because of the Heartbleed bug.
  • 6% of internet users say they believe their personal information was stolen.

As a news story, the revelations about Heartbleed drew the attention of a notable segment of adults. Some 60% of adults (and 64% of internet users) said they had heard about the bug. Some 19% of adults said they had heard “a lot” about it and 41% said they had heard “a little” about it.

By comparison, though, the Heartbleed story drew much less intensity and scope of attention than other big news stories. In this same survey, 46% of respondents said they had heard “a lot” about tensions between Russia and Ukraine and 34% said they had heard “a little.”

Read the full article at Pew Research Center's Internet Project.