The developer responsible for creating the infamous Firesheep Firefox extension, which allows anyone to hijack others' user accounts via public Wi-Fi networks, has detailed how users can better protect themselves from attack.
Firesheep works by scanning for anyone nearby who is using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network and are logged into sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon, and allows the hacker to hijack the victim's session.
Unsurprisingly the tool has gone down a storm online, having been downloaded over 129,000 times in just over a day, according to its creator, Eric Butler. He also suggested ways in which users could protect themselves from the tool he created.
The first is using the HTTPS-Everywhere Firefox extension, which ensures Firefox uses only HTTPS connections for certain web sites, however it will only work on a defined list of sites.
The second is using the Force-TLS extension which is similar to the above but "allows you to specify your own list of domain names to force encryption on".
Finally, Butler advised using a VPN or similar to ensure the integrity of the traffic traveling to and from the user's PC.
He also took the opportunity to have a go at the web sites which allow Firesheep to hijack user sessions so effortlessly.
"Going forward the metric of Firesheep's success will quickly change from amount of attention it gains, to the number of sites that adopt proper security. True success will be when Firesheep no longer works at all," he wrote.
"An across-the-board improvement in web site security will take time, but people are beginning to see the risks of using insecure web sites right now."
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