A security bug, known as Bash or Shellshock, has been discovered that could pose a bigger threat than the infamous Heartbleed bug that wreaked havoc on computer systems earlier this year.
The vulnerability stems from the Bourne Again Shell (Bash) command line used in many Linux and Unix operating systems, commonly found in major servers and devices connected to the internet-of-things.
"Using this vulnerability, attackers can potentially take over the operating system, access confidential information, make changes, etc," said Tod Beardsley, an engineer at security firm Rapid7. "Anybody with systems using Bash needs to deploy the patch immediately."
Beardsley warned that the Bash bug had the highest severity rating of "10" and had a "low" complexity rating, meaning hackers could launch massive attacks with relative ease.
Another security expert, Robert Graham, claimed that the bug was "bigger" than Heartbleed. In April, the Heartbleed bug left millions of systems vulnerable through a flaw in the OpenSSL.
Graham believes the Bash bug poses more of a threat than Heartbleed due to the "enormous percentage" of software that it interacts with.
"We'll never be able to catalogue all the software out there that is vulnerable to the Bash bug," said Graham. "While the known systems (like your web-server) are patched, unknown systems remain unpatched.
"We see that with the Heartbleed bug: six months later, hundreds of thousands of systems remain vulnerable."
Graham warns that older systems found to be infected by the Bash bug will most likely be unable to be patched. If this is the case, he says, "you are likely screwed".