Firesheep Highlights Web Privacy ProblemOctober 25, 2010 – 8:45 PM
A new add-on program for the popular Firefox Web browser is stirring up longstanding concerns over how many websites electronically identify their users.
It’s a problem associated with the use of wireless networks. The add-on program, Firesheep, is designed to make it easy to intercept browser “cookies” used by popular Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and others to identify their users, thereby allowing Firesheep users to log-in to those Web sites posing as others.
To work, a user of Firesheep must have the program running on an ordinary computer on a shared wireless network where it can grab cookies after other users on the network log into popular Web sites, according to a post by Eric Butler, the developer of the program. Butler in his post suggests Firesheep works on “open” wireless networks, but doesn’t specify whether that includes networks where many strangers share a common password to access it, as in a café or convention center.