websessions with Firesheep


Firesheep is a Firefox extension used to hijack web sessions usuall used over WiFi networks. Firesheep doesn’t steal usernames and passwords. Instead it copies session cookies used on authentication websites. These are then used to impersonate the hijack connection.
When logging into a website you usually start by submitting your username and password. The server then checks to see if an account matching this information exists and if so, replies back to you with a “cookie” which is used by your browser for all subsequent requests.

It’s extremely common for websites to protect your password by encrypting the initial login, but surprisingly uncommon for websites to encrypt everything else. This leaves the cookie (and the user) vulnerable. HTTP session hijacking (sometimes called “sidejacking”) is when an attacker gets a hold of a user’s cookie, allowing them to do anything the user can do on a particular website. On an open wireless network, cookies are basically shouted through the air, making these attacks extremely easy.
Facebook is constantly rolling out new “privacy” features in an endless attempt to quell the screams of unhappy users, but what’s the point when someone can just take over an account entirely?
After installing the extension you’ll see a new sidebar. Connect to any busy open wifi network and click the big “Start Capturing” button. Then wait.
As soon as anyone on the network visits an insecure website known to Firesheep, their name and photo will be displayed:
Double-click on someone, and you’re instantly logged in as them.
Firesheep is free (open source) and is available now for Mac OS X and Windows. Linux support is on the way.
Download Firesheep here

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