Firesheep is a popular Firefox add-on that can be used even by amateurs to hijack users access to Facebook, Twitter or other popular services. Firesheep adds a sidebar to Mozilla’s Firefox browser that shows when anyone on an open network logs in to a insecure site.
Firesheep is very easy to use: with a simple double-click the hacker can gain instant access to your user session. He can see your friends on Facebook, tweet in your behalf and even send mails from your account. Scary, is it not?
The plugin works by intercepting the cookies that sites like Facebook or Twitter place in your browser. Firesheep needs to sniff your outgoing Internet traffic, so the hacker has to be on the same local network, like a public Wi-Fi hotspot. This means that anyone on the Wi-Fi network that has Firesheep installed can get access to your Facebook, Twitter or even Gmail session.
Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security warns us about the wide spread of Firesheep use: “I was in a Peet’s Coffee today, and someone was using Firesheep“, he said. “There were only 10 people in there, and one was using it!”
The good news however is that you can easily protect yourself against this popular form of attack. All you need to do to stay protected is to use a Personal VPN service while on a unsecured Wi-Fi network. The VPN will encrypt all your Internet traffic so Firesheep will not “see” your Facebook or Twitter cookies anymore. This will make it impossible for the hacker to impersonate your account.
This simple yet powerful approach keeps you safe in all public networks and even more hides your browsing history from prying eyes. You can start your search for a VPN Service Provider on our websites by visiting our VPN Reviews section.
Stay safe in public Wi-Fi hotspots and browse securely!