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Software

Tech firms to donate millions to ease Heartbleed vulnerability

The world's biggest technology companies have agreed to lend financial support to a group meant to assist open-source software projects. Donations will also come in handy in the fight against the Heartbleed bug.

About a dozen large tech firms across the globe agreed Thursday to donate millions of dollars to set up a special group in support of crucial open-source software programs such as OpenSSL whose software bug dubbed Heartbleed had sent the whole computer industry into turmoil.

Announcing the formation of the group, the non-profit Linux Foundation said among the donators were Amazon, Cisco Systems, Dell, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft which alongside others would give $300,000 (239,000 euros) each to the venture called "Core Infrastructure Initiative."

It added the group would focus on helping along open-source software making up critical parts of the world's technology infrastructure, with their current developers more often than not lacking adequate funding.

Race against time

The Heartbleed Internet bug

The core team developing OpenSSL for instance only consists of a handful of programmers, but their software is used in thousands of critical services around the globe.

It had recently appeared that the Heartbleed problem was not only affecting websites and the security of passwords, but also the whole networking equipment connecting homes and businesses to the Internet, such as routers.

Undetected for more than two years, the extent of the damage caused by the Heartbleed bug is not yet known as it has potentially put at risk millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive personal information.

Since the threat became public, experts have feared there's a good chance that hackers will bend over backwards to exploit the bug before fixes are in place.

hg/rc (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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