Unsecured wireless networks have always been a danger for traveling technophiles — the data that we transfer through open spaces can always be intercepted and decrypted by wandering spies, including bank accounts, passwords and heaps of other sensitive information. That’s why most people refrain from logging into private websites while in public places.
With the proliferation of social media in today’s mainstream culture, however, many are concerned about the privacy of those accounts in public places. It used to be that the relative difficulty of hacking a Facebook account versus a bank account meant that most people felt safe using social media at a neighborhood cafe. Why spend the time changing someone’s online status versus stealing their money?
Now, however, sites like Facebook and Twitter are encoded with such simple technology that web developers can write apps to steal random social media passwords — all inside of a simple web browser. This means that any old person with Windows XP and Firefox can boot up their browser, turn on an application and start poaching Facebook data. Five minutes after sitting down with your tall non-fat latte you might find yourself with a new fancy status message, group of friends and password to boot.
You can read the full details of the technology (and even try it out!) over at codebutler.
The only solution? Don’t log into social media when browsing on an untrusted, unsecure network. Will that stop anyone? Probably not. It probably won’t happen to you, but don’t say that Gadling didn’t warn you when your Facebook profile turns to mush.
[flickr image via dcwriterdawn]