Hundreds of thousands of devices could be at risk of hacking

cyber attack

A computer bug which could have catastrophic effects has been discovered, although experts are unsure just how high the risk of hacking is, or how serious the problem could be.

Hundreds of thousands of devices, services and apps could be affected by the bug, which could therefore see many suffer a cyber attack at the hands of hackers.

The bug, according to Google engineers, is related to a library of code known as “glibc”, which is widely used. However, the severity of the problem is uncertain due to it being unclear how many devices use the code.

A patch designed to fix the problem has been released by Google engineers in conjunction with Red Hat security engineers. The patch will need to be issued to all affected devices and software as soon as possible, by manufacturers and the people behind the Linux operating system.

Professor Alan Woodward, a security expert from the University of Surrey, said: “Many people are running around right now trying to work out if this is truly catastrophic or whether we have dodged a bullet.”

The flaw could be exploited by hackers to gain remote control of computers, routers, or other devices. Although major systems such as OS X and Windows are not affected by the problem, smaller connected devices may be at risk.

Reportedly, the bug was discovered in July 2015, but was classed as being a low priority, which is rather concerning.