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November 01, 2010
Unsecured Wifi Networks Now Even More Dangerous
By Michael Marr
It was very common to see unsecured and open wireless networks when the technology was first emerging. As wireless networks and devices became more popular, awareness of how unsafe these open wireless networks really are also grew. Secure wireless technologies quickly became the norm, and now it often seems difficult to find an open/unsecured network. However, according to wireless surveying by wigle.net, almost 28% of wireless networks are still open. The dangers of these unsecured wireless networks are well documented, but a software aimed to raise awareness of this problem will only increase the threat these networks pose.

Firesheep is a Firefox add-on that does the hacker's work for any laymen computer user. By sniffing the unencrypted data in wireless networks, Firesheep grabs users' authentication cookies from thin-air, and then does the necessary work to allow an user to utilize these cookies to gain unauthorized access to website accounts. This process is nothing new, and is just one of the many perils of the unsecured wifi network. Although this plugin appears to have been developed for awareness purposes, it will now give additional people the capability to cause serious harm. Not all sites can be hacked in this way, but a long list of sites that can be are found in the options menu of the plugin. This same options menu allows additional sites to be configured given the proper information.

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