I’ll Have a Latte and a Hack: No Thank You!
We all do it, find our favorite cafe with a “hot spot”, sit down with our computer and work, or play, the afternoon away. But is our daily indulgence becoming a little risque? Maybe so!
Enter the HACKER! While we are sitting there cup deep in blissful liquid gold, some of us are being violated by a good for nothing hacker. Well, that is a date I would rather not have, thank you very much! I’ll drink alone, maybe I’ll have a scone while I’m at it, me and my computer, by myself or with friends, but no uninvited guests.
A New York Times articlefrom February 16th drew attention to the new vulnerabilities faced by Wi-Fi users. In particular, a free program called Firesheep. Firesheep makes hacking your fellow cafe-goer a simple, user-friendly, DIY affair. It takes advantage of a lack of end-to-end encryption, allowing hackers to grab your cookies which are the bits of code that identify your private information. This enables hackers to act as you on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or eBay. Sites that use HTTPS, rather than HTTP, are safe from this sort of hacking. Banking sites generally use HTTPS, but Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and EBay do not.
New York is advising people of this Internet cafe issue. Senator Charles Schumer spoke at Birch Coffee in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. He described the HTTP protocol as “a welcome mat for would-be hackers” and a “one-stop-shop for identity theft.” Its important to note that when you are using Internet hot spots, you are taking a risk if you are using HTTP.
Until the larger companies that store our data stop using HTTP, and start using HTTPS I suggest that you be aware of any unusual activity that might show up on your account. Be your own watchdog!