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Heartbleed Information Security Alert

April 15, 2014

Photo of fingers typing on laptop computerTo all members of the Northern Illinois Community:

Heartbleed is a significant Internet security vulnerability that has gathered media attention because it has existed, without detection, for two years and poses the possibility that confidential information has been stolen without any detectable trace.

NIU has this vulnerability and is working to fix it in those few percent of systems and servers that are vulnerable. Many other sites on the Internet have also had this vulnerability. In fact, the number of other sites is so large, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Gmail, Yahoo, Netflix, YouTube and Dropbox, that ITS recommends you change all of your passwords, both at NIU and all other sites.

While you are changing your passwords, it is critically important to avoid “password re-use.”

Many people have the habit of using the same password on multiple sites, simply for convenience. The danger is that if your password is stolen at one website it is easy to use that against you everywhere else on the Internet.

It is undoubtedly harder to use multiple passwords instead of one, but the more different passwords you have, the safer you will be. At the very least, choose three different, strong, long passwords: one for work, one for money (like your bank, credit card and retirement accounts), and one for fun (like Facebook or Netflix).

You can change your NIU account at

If you need help with your account or password, contact the IT HelpDesk at 815-753-8100 or via email at [email protected].