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Terry O'Kelly of Thirdline

Shellshock leaves millions of computer users open to catastrophic issues

A major security system flaw in computers running Apple’s Mac OSX and Linux operating systems could have catastrophic consequences for millions of users, according to experts at Wiltshire-based Thirdline.

Shellshock made headlines around the world over the weekend. And Terry O’Kelly, service delivery manager at Wiltshire-based IT, cloud and communications firm, Thirdline, said the flaw could be “catastrophic”.

“Security firms globally have rated the bug as ten-out-of-ten for its severity, but low for complexity.” He said. “Hackers are able to exploit users using just three lines of code.

“I believe that this problem will affect up to 500 million systems around the world and will take years to fix,” he said.

Shellshock is a major system flaw related to Bash, a computer program associated with user interaction part of computers, for example, the clicks made and the tasks run, including opening and closing items.

“Unlike Heartbleed, which allowed hackers to spy on computers, changing passwords will not make any difference to the outcome if your computer or device becomes effected,” said Terry.

“A single hacker targeting a single machine or small network could have serious local effects, but with the right business backup you could protect your data.

“However given the new capability this flaw brings to the hacker toolkit, if this security vulnerability was used to upload a virus to a wider online network, like the ones that control power and water along with ATMs, we are looking at a bigger problem.

“Be aware – some nefarious people will always use a crisis like this to try and trick people with phishing emails.

“Be very wary of any emails you receive asking for personal data, or recommending you run any software to fix the Shellshock bug.

“You can verify this by contacting the company the email seems to be from,” he warned.

For more information, contact Thirdline on 0800 082 2420 or at