Residents asked to report 'Heartbleed' attacks

Residents asked to report 'Heartbleed' attacks

NORTH SMITHFIELD - North Smithfield town officials warned on Friday that hackers are attempting to exploit the Heartbleed bug in targeted attacks by scanning networks to see if they are vulnerable. They are asking organizations to report any Heartbleed-related attacks, as they advise critical infrastructure operators about emerging cyber threats.

Sgt. Michael Monteiro, a North Smithfield Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency official, who runs the agency's computer intelligence program that monitors and responds to emerging cyber threats, said that NSDHS was working with federal, state and local governments to uncover and mitigate any potential threats.

The widespread bug surfaced late on Monday, when it was disclosed that a pernicious flaw in a widely used web encryption program known as OpenSSL opened hundreds of thousands of websites to data theft. Now, technology companies are rushing to identify pieces of vulnerable OpenSSL code elsewhere, including email servers, ordinary PCs, phones and even security products.

Companies including Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. have rushed to push out updates to protect against the threat, warning customers they may be at risk. NSDHS and EMA are asking for any residents who have been affected by the newest cyber bug, Heartbleed, to contact their office at 401-767-2206.