Who’s Sniffing You?

He may be tall dark and handsome, but he’s not nibbling your ear. He’s sitting in his wifebeater and boxers or his Armani silk pajamas) and learning all sorts of private things about you. He’s a packet sniffer.

You may have heard about the recent discovery of a huge identity theft ring who culled identity information by sitting in retailers’ parking lots and intercepting unencrypted information. The same method can be/is being used to hack into e-mail accounts and other online transactions. How safe are you?

Not as safe as you think you are, especially if you have Gmail. I ran across this article at monkey_bites yesterday and I’m so glad I did!

The gist of it is that if you have Gmail you now have an option to encrypt all of your transmissions to help prevent hackers from accessing your e-mail and other possibly identifying information.

What? You mean you didn’t know you weren’t already protected for that? Me either!!!!

So please, before you even read any further, log into your Gmail account, click on “Settings”, and under “Browser Connection” select “Always use https”. Don’t forget to save the changes!

Now I don’t know why anyone would not want to secure their information by always using https, so I don’t really understand why Gmail is making this an option. They should at the very least make it the default! And apparently some engineer in San Francisco is going to release a tutorial in two weeks on how to hack into Gmail to make it easy for even those with little computer expertise to “sniff” your info!

Check out monkey-bites’ article for a much better explanation than I can give as to how this works and why it’s so important. And start noticing whether the other sites and e-mail programs you frequent are SSL. Avoiding the ones that aren’t is the best way to keep your private information private.

I always assumed that the big, established companies were already doing everything they can to protect me. Well, we all know what happens when we assume…

2 Responses to “Who’s Sniffing You?”

  1. funnyaboutmoney1 Says:

    Thanks for this bit of information! GDU has entered into an agreement with Google, so that students and emeriti use gmail rather than the university’s Outlook system. Just forwarded yours to all my RAs, plus friends and relatives who use gmail.

  2. The Carnival of Money Stories « The Copyeditor’s Desk Says:

    […] This Way Are You Going to Be This Way the Rest of the Time I Know You? Who’s Sniffing You? A word to the wise for all g-mail […]

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