The Heartbleed bug is a very nasty Internet problem that affects us all. Dealing with it is complex and not clear-cut at this time but one thing that many Internet users want to do is check sites to see which ones might still be subject to the bug.
A previous article gave some ways to check sites but a simpler method is now available with new browser extensions for Firefox and for Chrome. How accurate these extensions are I don’t know and they have some other limitations but I still thought it worth pointing them out.
Heartbleed-Ext 3.0 for Firefox browser
This extension is available here. It places a small bleeding heart icon in the browser menu bar. When you go to a website, the heart icon shows green for a site that is “safe”, red for a site still vulnerable to the bug, and yellow for possibly vulnerable. I found that it stayed white for many sites, indicating that it could not determine the status of the site.
The extension does not itself check a site but uses the web service of Filippo Valsorda mentioned in our previous article. The green icon does not distinguish between sites previously vulnerable but patched and sites that never had the problem.
Added: Unless you refresh a tab, it seems that you may get a result that is left over from a previous site.
Chromebleed for Chrome browser
The extension is available here. A bleeding heart icon is placed in the browser menu bar. If you go to an unpatched site, a popup warning will appear. Popups also show indicating some sites as “safe”. This extension also uses the web service of Filippo Valsorda. As with the Firefox extension, a “safe” rating does not distinguish between sites previously vulnerable but patched and sites that never had the problem.
Unfortunately, instructions are lacking but I found from the reviews that you have to enable the extension setting “Allow access to file URLs” and also the extension option “Show all notifications” and restart Chrome. I found that there was sometimes a delay of 15 seconds or more after I went to a site before the popup window appeared.
A note of caution
At the time of this writing, there are questions about the effectiveness of patches for the Heartbleed bug. The recent problems reported about the patches issued by Akamai means that there may be ambiguity in the rating “safe” given to some sites.There are still no easy solutions to this major security problem.
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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