Hacking is a constant online danger, and parents and kids alike must be aware of its effects. A TechCrunch article highlights a particular hacking tool – Firesheep – created by Eric Butler. Butler developed this application to show how easy it is to access other people’s information in an open Wi-Fi network. Basically anyone with computer access can download Firesheep and easily recall login information previously accessed on the same open network. Firesheep primarily works on various social networking sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter), allowing the hacker to access all private user information that you would think is secure.
Relevant concerns about Firesheep are that someone could not only take over a child’s profile and potentially ruin a kid’s online reputation, but a hacker could also get to other kids once they have successfully accessed the original child’s profile. While there will always be online dangers, it’s important to keep kids educated on every possible issue we know about.
Here are some ways you can help your children stay safe:
- Don’t login away from home computers. Encourage your kids to use the home computer as much as possible, as Firesheep only works on open networks (such as libraries and cafes).
- Don’t store damaging profile or account information. In the case that someone does hack into your child’s account, make sure they know not to save inappropriate conversations, photos, etc.
- Don’t access or send any private information on a public network. Warn your kids against doing more personal activities when using a computer away from home.
- Don’t search for inappropriate subject matter on a public network. A hacker can access your account information, as well as your past Internet activity.
- Help your kids download any security programs or devices that may prevent against possible hacking. For example, an alternative to Firesheep is already established.
Have you or your kids ever had a problem related to hacking? Do you know of specific ways to counteract hacking attempts?