Since researcher Eric Butler released Firesheep on Sunday, the add-on has been downloaded nearly 220,000 times.
"I was in a Peet's Coffee today, and someone was using Firesheep," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at San Francisco-based nCircle Security. "There were only 10 people in there, and one was using it!"
But users aren't defenseless, Storms and several other experts maintained.
One way they can protect themselves against rogue Firesheep users, experts said on Tuesday, is to avoid public Wi-Fi networks that aren't encrypted and available only with a password.
However, Ian Gallagher, a senior security engineer with Security Innovation, argued that tosses out the baby with the bathwater. Gallagher is one of the two researchers who debuted Firesheep last weekend at a San Diego conference.
An anthropology professor at Kansas State University, he first became widely known due to his “The Machine Is Us/Ing Us” video that deconstructed the Web 2.0 movement. What people didn’t necessarily realize when they watched that, or his other videos such as “A Vision of Students Today” is that they are being presented anthropological theory. It’s just in a remarkable accessible format, free of jargon and citation of French critical theorists.
… His talk on Mediated Culture was among the highest rated of the event, and elicited both the most laughter and the most tears of any talk. His is an affirming message of the ability of our media to connect us in powerful ways, and our responsibility, as designers and developers of these new media, to be mindful of these potential affects.