Since the creation of the Internet the number of users has continually grown every year. In a recent study conducted by the University of Southern California in 2010 it was found that 82% of Americans now use the Internet on a regular basis. With ever-increasing numbers of people logging in, it is inevitable that there will be individuals who will seek to use this new connectivity for malicious reasons.
In the New York Times article “New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users”, discusses the ease with which hackers may seize personal information. Wi-Fi hotspots in particular make accessing users information extremely easy for hackers. According to the article in the New York Times, a recently designed program called Firesheep can be downloaded for free off the Internet and, if used at a Wi-Fi hotspot, will allow the user to steal the confidential information of people accessing the Internet through the hotspot.
In the past, hacking required high-tech equipment and an advanced knowledge of how computers worked. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Simple, free programs that are readily available over the Internet are now all that is needed to steal valuable personal information. Due to this increasing security risk it is more important than ever to safeguard our online information and to verify that the websites we visit are properly protected.