Oh, cookies. You used to be just innocent, sweet treats. But the internet had to come in and give you a bad name.
Okay, that may be a bit melodramatic. But hey. You have to admit. Internet cookies have played, and are still playing, some mighty big parts in the great world wide web.
Take for example its part in Facebook account hacking.
Facebook is the biggest of all social networking sites. It was founded 10 years ago by a college dropout. Since then, it has exploded in popularity and said college dropout is a billionaire many times over by the time he’s 30.
There are lots of Facebook account to hack
There’s over 7 billion people on the planet and over 1 billion of them has Facebook accounts. That was in 2012. Many are still signing on. And even with the many threats to security and all the privacy issues, many members stay on Facebook.
They post status updates about everything. They post when they’re happy, they post when they’re sad. They update statuses when they’re on vacation or even when they’re just lying around doing absolutely nothing. They celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, job promotions and many of life’s events by logging in and telling their entire news feed about it. So friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends know they’ve been approved for that home loan or they’ve gotten their new credit card.
And all the while they forget that there are prying eyes. Eyes with less noble intents just waiting to pounce. Malicious people will hack on these accounts and steal what they can get. And those clueless Facebook members are making it quite easy.
Hacking Facebook accounts using cookies
One of the most common ways to hack into an account and wreak havoc is by stealing cookies. And this is what it’s about.
Cookies lets websites store information on the user’s hard drive. This makes it possible to retrieve the data later on. The cookies can contain important information that can be used to track sessions. Hackers sniff these data out and steal it if they’re on the same WiFi network as the target.
While they don’t usually get login passwords, they do get access to the victim’s account by cloning the cookies. This tricks Facebook into thinking that the browser the hacker is using has been authenticated already.
One such example is Firesheep. It’s an add-on to Mozilla Firefox. It works by sniffing web traffic on open WiFi connections. It then collects all the cookies and stores them on the tab on the browser’s side.
From there, any hacker can click the saved cookies and access accounts as long as the victim is still logged in. Of course, once the victim logs out, the hacker can no longer access the account. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage has usually been done.
So how can you protect yourself from cookie stealers?
Log into Facebook and go to your Account Settings. Under Security, make sure that secure browsing is enabled. Firesheep cannot sniff out cookies over encrypted connections. Doing this encrypts your data and stops Firesheep in its tracks.
2. Full time SSL
Install add-ons like HTTPS-Everywhere and Force-TLS.
3. Log out
When you’re done browsing, make sure you log out. Loads of web-sites boast of being in a position to hack a Fb account but nobody does it as efficiently as Hayy which hacks Facebook accounts with more than 95% success. Hackers using Firesheep can’t stay logged in if you’re no longer logged in to your account, either.
4. Trustworthy WiFi
Just because the WiFi is free doesn’t mean you should go ahead and access it automatically. Hackers are everywhere. They could be sitting right across from you at the local coffee shop already reading your latest Facebook status update and you may not even know it. So choose where you access WiFi. Make sure you trust the network before logging in.
5. Use VPN
No matter what website you’re on, all network traffic will be encrypted on the way to the VPN provider. So use VPN to protect yourself from sidejacking and cookie stealers on the same WiFi network.
Facebook isn’t something to steer away from. But hackers are. Make your online life a bit more secure by using these tips to stay ahead of hackers