Poodles are attacking the Internet

poodle

There's yet another Internet bug that threatens to make your private conversations public. The new enemy: "Poodle" attacks.

Google (GOOG) security researchers have discovered a weakness in a method for securing Internet communication. As it turns out, our Web browsers are susceptible to a cyberattack dubbed "Poodle" (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption).

Woof.

Normally, your Web browser uses software to encrypt your conversations. New versions of that software make encryption more robust over time. But with the Poodle attack, a hacker can force your browser to downgrade to an old version (SSL 3.0), which is far less secure than today's SSL standard.

A browser using the 15-year old SSL 3.0 is vulnerable enough to let hackers spy on the data traveling to and from your computer. That means they could spy on your emails, banking or anything else.

Fortunately, this dog's bark is louder than its bite.

A hacker must control your computer network to attack with Poodle (unlikely). And Web browser patches are expected to disable this downshift to older security methods.

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That means this Internet bug isn't as bad as others discovered this year. The Heartbleed bug affected computers everywhere and was the reason in 4.5 million patient records were stolen from one of the country's largest hospital networks.

Then there's the recent Shellshock bug, which is so widespread that hackers are using it to set up botnets -- enslaving a fleet of computers to spread malware or attack websites.

 'Shellshock' can hack lights in your house
'Shellshock' can hack lights in your house

Even if the Poodle attack is more difficult to exploit, it still means "more manual work for the enterprise security professionals," said Aviv Raff, cofounder of Seculert, which detects network breaches.

"If Hearbleed/Shellshock merited a 10, then this attack is only around a 5," said security expert Robert Graham on his blog.

CNNMoney is investigating recent hacks. Have you had money stolen from your bank account? Has someone stolen your identity? Share your story.

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