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Meet the two men responsible for protecting the Internet

Published May 2nd, 2014 12:35PM EDT
Heartbleed bug: how two Steves protect the Internet

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Last month, the Heartbleed bug was revealed as a major vulnerability in the world’s most popular encryption method, OpenSSL. Since Heartbleed was uncovered, we still don’t know too much about the people behind OpenSSL. To find out more, BuzzFeed has written a great profile of the two guys named Steve who basically control OpenSSL. Steve Henson, a 46-year-old British mathematics Ph.D., contributes roughly 60% of the code behind OpenSSL, and Steve Marquess, a former Defense Department consultant, runs the OpenSSL Software Foundation, which raises money to support the continued development of OpenSSL.

The problem is, there’s not many other people besides these two Steves working on the project.

“Steve [Marquess] agreed with me that it was ridiculous and we needed to make the [OpenSSL] toolkit better,” said Matthew Green, a critic of the OpenSSL project. “But then he told me how bad things were. It turns out there was only really one full-time developer, and that explained a lot of the problems.”

Since the Heartbleed bug, the OpenSSL team has received more funding and Marquess confirmed to BuzzFeed that he is planning to bring on a second full-time developer. Still, it’s amazing that the Internet’s most popular encryption method is dependent on so few people.