This is a PSA for all of you wannabe hackers – and those who would rather not be hacked.
Being a fan of cyberpunk sf and now those Dragon Tattoo books, I have felt something close to awe for hackers. They seemed an elite club of folks with esoteric knowledge. But no more: now the technopeasant masses can hack into others’ accounts with a push of a button. The app is called Firesheep.
When you are logged in at a public hotspot, someone using this free app can sneak in to sites under your name, just as if they were you. It reminds me of those old movies where a person gets into the elite nightclub by walking closely on the tail of someone else’s large party. Or Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility.
Here Ubergizmo explains how to get and use it:
To avoid having your info hijacked while innocently posting on Facebook or browsing at Amazon while at Starbucks, you have two options:
1) Avoid doing that (yeah, right!)
2) Do not store automatic log-in passwords. Manually log in when you enter a site. Log out and close the browser window every time you end a session.
Sigh. I loved the automatic sign-in feature, being a person of Very Little Memory for Numbers. But the drawbridge must now be pulled up. We have been warned.
Or, for those of different ethical standards, informed about a new business opportunity.