How to Kill FireSheep (Huge New Wifi Security Threat)
Halloween is scary. But so is this huge new Internet security threat that exposes your computer when using open or public Wifi hotspots. There is an interesting article in Computer World that details how this new Firefox extension makes it easy for anyone to hack into your Facebook, Twitter, Google accounts and listen in. Regular people without any hacking skills are able to literally take over your Facebook account and log in as you. Very scary indeed. The guy that built the program, Eric Butler, said he wanted to expose how poor the security was on open wifi zones. He sure did! He had over 100,000 downloads of his extension within the first 24 hours. At this rate, there will be at least one person using it at every Starbucks in the USA by the end of the week.
The simplest solution:
There is one simple solution: Don’t use free public wifi – use a Mobile Broadband Card from Sprint, Verizon, or T-mobile. Then you don’t need a “Free” Wifi hotspot at all. Which, by the way, are not really free unless you consider a $5 coffee free. With as much time and hassle that your own portable Internet solution will save you, you won’t even think twice about the $2 a day it actually costs. Take control of your online destiny! Use the Internet when you want, where you want, and with the security of an encrypted Mobile Broadband device.
There are lot’s of “fixes” out there for those that want to still use public wifi. TechCrunch as well as many other sites have some fixes that should be considered. Eric Butler, the creator of Firesheep recommends using HTTPS Everywhere in his blog. I tried using it and had lot’s of issues with sites not working and getting warning messages. Could have just been my computer, but it wasn’t a good alternative at least on the first try. But then again, I use a Mobile Broadband device, so I didn’t need to bother trying it again.