You've heard about the Heartbleed bug. It's made you question what you previously believed to be rock-solid and secure: web traffic protected by https or SSL. So what is SSL and why does Heartbleed matter?
A Brief History of Internet Security
Federal legislation through the 1980s and 1990s created new information security requirements for personal health and financial information of consumers. However, it wasn't until a series of online security standards began rolling out in the mid 1990's called a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), that online data exchanges became truly secure. SSL, and later Transport Layer Security (TLS), remain the main protection of online communications against increasingly pervasive malicious software and automated agents attempting to intercept or steal data, or through spoofing or masquerading attacks.
SSL and TSL are widely-used cryptographic or encryption protocols that protect internet browsing, email, e-faxes, text and instant messages and voice over IP phone calls. In April of 2014, researchers found in the most common implementation of SSL "The Heartbleed Bug."