Yes it’s true. You may be fleeced by a firesheep attack even in the privacy of your own home! This is especially true if you use the FireFox browser or fool around on Facebook or titter on Twitter. The explanation is liable to make your eyes glaze over but the long and short of it is: Aunt Mathilda spiked the cookies and put real girl scouts in them. Or at least girl cooties. Well, almost.
For a really, really safe browsing experience privileged information exchanged between you and a website like Facebook or Twitter should be kept secret in some way. This goes double if what you are sharing is your login and password. But not everyone does this secret hiding of information. So some thought it would be cool to write a program that steals the unencrypted cookies that are meant to be deposited on your machine while you are using wifi, when you login, and then pretend to be you. Since it’s Halloween they dress up like firesheep when they are doing it or something like that.
So how to protect yourself?
1) Stay offline. Do all your browsing in a bookstore.
2) Get online but never go to any websites. Just do email.
3) Never go anywhere online where you have to login.
4) Never accept cookies. Even if they are from your grandma or girl scouts. (For the technophobes out there, cookies are text someone writes on your computer that makes it easy for Viagra salesmen to sell you your favorite blue pill or for you to login to your favorite website without typing in your password. )
5) Never accept unencrypted cookies.
6) Become a celibate monk or nun.
In Chinese astrology there is the year of Fire Sheep so be on the look out for that. There is also the year of the Metal Sheep and that’s where steel wool comes from….
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