Practical Technology

for practical people.

Shearing Firesheep


Thanks to the Firefox plug-in Firesheep, anyone today can snoop on anyone else on the same network. Worst still, Firesheep enables any user to seamlessly hijack another user’s Web session. Programs are beginning to show up that will block Firesheep from looking over your shoulder. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the ones I’ve seen are Firefox specific and they don’t deal with the problem’s root causes.

I’ve also been finding that even now many people don’t really understand just how dangerous Firesheep can be in the wrong hands. Sure, a network hacker could always WireShark or another professional-level network sniffer tool to see what you were doing and harvest your user IDs and passwords, but Firesheep lets anyone do it.

Oh, and this may sound hopelessly simple to some of you, but you only need Firefox to run Firesheep. If someone is watching you with Firesheep, it doesn’t matter what browser or operating system you’re running or whether they’re up to date with their patches. Someone with Firesheep can watch you no matter what you’re using on your PC, tablet, or smartphone if your network connection isn’t secure.

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