McAfee has released a free 'Heartbleed checker' to help internet users easily gauge their susceptibility to the Heartbleed Bug.

Heartbleed is an exploit in OpenSSL which is the underlying encryption used by a large chunk of internet web sites.

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By entering website domain names into the Heartbleed Checker tool, users can immediately determine if the websites they frequent have been affected by Heartbleed.

This is done by checking whether or not the sites have been upgraded to the version of OpenSSL that is no longer susceptible to the bug.

Intel Security vice president, Gary Davis, said: "It's important that users first check to make sure the websites they frequent are updated before changing their passwords." Steps to protect yourself:

McAfee's Heartbleed Checker tool can be found at http://tif.mcafee.com/heartbleedtest

If the site is deemed safe, then users can now change their passwords for that site. However, changing a password before a site is patched will not protect a user's information.

If the site is still vulnerable, then users are advised to monitor the activity on that account, looking for unauthorised activity, McAfee says.