New Hacking Tools Wi-Fi Unveils Serious Internet Threat

By: Bill Waters - Staff Writer
Published: Feb 17, 2021

New Hacking Tools Wi-Fi Threat - Online security. New hacking tools pose a threat to Internet security at public Wi-Fi hot spots. It can be anyone sitting next to you at your local coffee shop that could assume your identity online.

A free program called Firesheep has made it simple to see what other users of an unsecured Wi-Fi network are doing online. The hacking tool captures enough data to allow people to log on as them at the sites they visited. The spying can even happen when they use their smarphones at free hot spots.

“Like it or not, we are now living in a cyberpunk novel,” said Darren Kitchen, a systems administrator for an aerospace company in Richmond, Calif., and the host of Hak5, a video podcast about computer hacking and security. “When people find out how trivial and easy it is to see and even modify what you do online, they are shocked.” Without issuing any warnings of the possible threat, Web site administrators have since been scrambling to provide added protections.

“I released Firesheep to show that a core and widespread issue in Web site security is being ignored,” said Eric Butler, a freelance software developer in Seattle who created the program. “It points out the lack of end-to-end encryption.” What he means is that while the password you initially enter on Web sites like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and eBay is encrypted, the Web browser’s cookie, a bit of code that that identifies your computer, your settings on the site or other private information, is often not encrypted.


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