Learn How to Protect Yourself from Firesheep SideJacking

Firesheep has been created in the aim of raising awareness on the grave issue of interception of personal credentials online. Instead of being left indifferent, Eric Butler decided to take matters in his own hands and developed this plugin that demonstrates just how easy it can be for the right guys to intercept crucial data from your accounts and take full advantage of such unauthorized access.

Rather than being malicious, Firesheep intended to shock Internet users and increase the level of security that is always displayed by people when they surf the web. The use of the respective cookie is paramount for gaining access to every single website that requires passwords and usernames. Still, this means that in such cases you ought to be on alert all the time for any potential scam being held at your expense!

Unencrypted cookies can be placed in the hands of hostile intruders and people who wish to gain profit out of using your accounts instead of you. On the bright side, there are several guidelines that can help you out a great deal towards eliminating the threats that derive from Firesheep SideJacking.

Feel free to learn more about how to prevent your computer from getting hacked, and enhance your overall security layer. This is always the optimum piece of advice that you can keep in mind, so as to benefit from the awesome features that are available online and lead to your protection. Let’s analyze the most important lines of defense for you to look forward to online!

  1. SSL Protection:  SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it is a cryptographic protocol made to optimize the overall security level of yours on the web. Instead of settling for the navigation to several websites that are plain HTTP, you need to make sure that you go for HTTPS. This allows you to add even greater protection to every single thing that you do. Some of the extensions that can lay a helping hand for you and ease the path for you to cross include HTTPS-Everywhere and Force-TLS (with TLS being the successor of SSL and standing for Transport Layer Security). The former option is recommended by EFF or else the Electronic Frontier Foundation that fights insecurity on the Internet and is available for Firefox, Chrome and Opera so far. The latter is only compatible for Firefox users. Of course, if you are certain about a website and you wish to add that to your list of encrypted and perfectly safe sites to browse through, you are perfectly capable of doing so!
  2. Log Off From Websites upon Completion of Work: Have you been accustomed to leaving your password and username and not logging off, after having completed your work on your e-mail or anywhere else? Well, this certainly has to stop! As it has been reported and as plain logic dictates, there is much higher risk of hackers intercepting your data when you have left everything accessible to them. If you log off, you do not leave anything exposed and therefore you can rest assured of keeping your private information in fact private. Especially if you use computers along with others at work or at school, there is no room for negligence whatsoever. On the contrary, you should make a habit out of logging off and following the same process again next time you want to sign in. In this way, the cookie that has been triggered by Firesheep will be deactivated and you will be off the hook!
  3. Avoid Unencrypted Wi-Fi: It is crucial as Firesheep SideJacking protection to avoid unencrypted wi-fi. This means that the wireless Internet connection that you use ought to be thoroughly protected. Otherwise, you risk getting hacked and leaving your personal information out in the open for others to see. Using encryption is the quintessence of preventing leaks on the web and therefore you should make sure that you choose WPA2 protection routers (both Enterprise and Personal). Apparently, getting individual passwords for gaining access to the wi-fi that you are interested in using seems like the perfect way to go. Still, even with the same password, WPA2 connection is a must!
  4. Stick to Secure LANs: Although many of you may think that protection from Firesheep SideJacking will automatically be put into effect through the use of Ethernet LANs and with the avoidance of wi-fi, this is not the case. Instead, Firesheep can harm your privacy everywhere and therefore you should not become idle at any time. When it comes to a specific network, it had better be encrypted and thus perfectly secure to navigate. Inter-connections can be made real access points for hackers to get their hands on data that they need. Only secure LANs ought to be selected as your route towards web surfing of paramount value.
  5. VPN Offering Safety: If you are at a dilemma as to whether or not the connection of yours is safe, you should choose to subscribe to VPN. Virtual Private Network can help you remain anonymous and prevent leaks from your personal info online. There is the proper tunnelling process taking place on the web and therefore you do not even hold the same IP that you used to have at a time. Instead, you use a mask and consequently you benefit from the privacy settings that allow you to remain concealed behind a veil of security. Firesheep has got no way of knowing where you are and what you use for connecting online, keeping everything running smoothly.
  6. Counterattacks against Firesheep: Best line of defense is indeed attack, as some might claim! This is why there are so many tools available within your reach for succeeding in your attempt to reverse the problems triggered by Firesheep. One such fine example is that of FireShepherd. This is a program that floods the network at use towards turning Firesheep off. Even if it might be risky and it can delay the overall network or even trigger a DoS attack, it is worth taking the risk and fighting fire with fire at some point. Another simple and yet effective plugin that can help you out against Firesheep is Blacksheep, which has been introduced by Zscaler. It provides fake passwords and usernames for affecting the threat and overcoming the problems that emerge in the best manner possible!

These are some of the fundamental solutions that you ought to pay attention to, if you are serious about overcoming the ongoing threat of Firesheep SideJacking. In case you wish to remain out of limits and away from trouble, you need to make sure that you follow the advice displayed above on the subject. Firesheep has been meant to keep Internet users on alert and thus you have to make the most out of enhancing your overall security and your privacy settings! It is worth the trouble mastering such skills of yours!

Stella Strouvali Stella is a certified writer and zealous wordsmith, a true fan of Placebo, technology, Panionios and wellness. Still, her true passion has to do with eagerly learning new things and passing them on to others. “An unexamined life is not worth living”, to quote Socrates.
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