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You may have heard about many incidents of identity theft over the website through stealing relevant personal information of an individual in social networking sites such as the Twitter and FaceBook. Well, since a lot of people are into these social networking sites, it is also inevitable that there will be some people who will take such opportunity and try to hack those accounts for their own personal gain.
And just recently, there were some ongoing news around about a certain Firefox add-on that can be used in stealing the account and identity of a FaceBook or Twitter user called the Firesheep. The Firesheep is apparently a proof-of-concept Firefox extension that was created by Eric Butler, a freelance web application and software developer. Basically, the Firesheep was developed with the purpose of highlighting the lack of security of user logins and cookies on popular websites like FaceBook.
Just like any add-on, the Firesheep can also be installed easily to Firefox. Once this add-on is already installed, it will display a new sidebar that contains information about individual users who logged in into networking sites like FaceBook especially if such logins were made over an unsecured and open network. The Firesheep allows you to login at the same time as a FaceBook user does with just a double-click of your mouse. One key thing to note about this add-on is that it requires a wireless card capable of promiscuous mode . This is the reason why some users who had installed Firesheep can’t use it.
Well, as you can see the Firesheep works well due to the poor security of some websites. This may lead to some problems in the future especially if some hackers will take advantage of this situation. Even if the username and password for a certain site is protected by a certain SSL encryption, the cookie used by the site may still be used once the login is successful because it is unprotected.
The existence of Firesheep may be a little frightening especially if it will fall on the wrong hands. So it is better to always make it sure that you are into a secured session when connected to the website. You can also use an encryption method like SSH SOCKS proxy or install a Force-TLS 2.0 (which is a Firefox add-on).
Then again, these social networking sites and other commercial sites must do something in order to protect their users. This could be a sign to let them know that their system still has flaws that need to be patched. For now, be a responsible website user and stay alert at all times.
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