Mobile Internet users need to check HTTPS protocol when using unsecured Wi-Fi services that can hack personal and business information.

Wi-Fi is convenient for mobile Internet business users but it’s important to check for HTTPS protocol and beware of free and unsecured Wi-Fi that can hack confidential business information.

Mobile Internet business users use Wi-Fi greatly. They are being warned to be cautious of Wi-Fi unsecured network services especially logging in to unsecured Wi-Fi networks at places like cafés, restaurants, and hotels. Besides, this Internet is impossible to use since it is slow as a lot of people are using it at the same time. Of course, you can enable 5GHz Wi-Fi on your laptop, but it won’t secure your connection in any way. So keep reading to find a solution.

Firefox Web Browser’s Firesheep

A recent software program for Firefox web browser, Firesheep, has unwittingly given amateur hackers the ability to capture login information from Twitter, Facebook, and perhaps other social networking dotcoms over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Developed by Eric Butler for Firefox web browser, Firesheep uses a packet sniffer to intercept unencrypted cookies from social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. As the cookies are transmitted over networks, session hijacking vulnerabilities have been exploited by hackers.

What Happens When Searching for Information Online

For small business owners who are not that computer savvy, when you surf the Internet over a normal HTTP connection, the browser you use ( Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google’s Chrome) keeps a record of key information on pages you have visited so that it works more efficiently. This information is stored by the Web browser in a browser or HTTP cookie, a piece of text stored on a user’s computer by their Web browser.

A cookie than can be used for authentication, storing site preferences, as an identifier for a server-based session, or for anything related to storing text data. Email login passwords for Web mails (Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo), may be stored in a cookie and automatically loaded when a username is typed into a login screen.

Cookies, Firesheep Software Program, and Unsecure Wi-Fi

It is these cookies that the Firesheep program targets as users update their profiles on their Facebook pages at unsecured Wi-Fi access points. The trouble is that while the initial login system for Facebook may be secure, browsing other pages that tie into Facebook, that is, one that has a Facebook widget or image, may cause account login information to be saved to a cookie.

Hackers using the same unprotected Wi-Fi network can then use Firesheep to access cookie information and steal login details giving them complete access to a user’s Facebook account.

Smart as they are, hackers who have infiltrated an account will search through personal records and be able to relay messages to anyone to gain a deeper understanding of someone’s personal information. The more they know personal information, the more they can steal confidential business information. No decent person would want an online criminal to know personal home addresses and holiday plans any more than their Internet banking password information.

How to Avoid Becoming a Firesheep Victim

Since the Firesheep threat is limited to unsecured Wi-Fi access points in cafés and hotels, the best form of defense is to simply stop using these networks. Business people who are on the move and enjoy these free hotspots’ convenience have to ensure that only Wi-Fi running on encrypted and password-protected networks is used. Decide what is better for you: PCI-E WiFi Cards or USB WiFi. Take into account different factors such as the number of users and the amount of work needed to accomplish.

Ensure that Internet Banking Uses HTTPS Protocol

Credible Internet banking dotcoms use Internet banking software with secure HTTPS protocol and will not allow a Web browser to save account information to a cookie. HTTPS creates a secure channel over an insecure network and is designed to protect a customer’s account login information.

It’s a good idea to get into the practice of checking for the HTTPS protocol in the browser window anytime money transfer is being done over the Web. While using free Wi-Fi networks can be convenient for business people on the move, keeping these things in mind keeps personal information safe.