Remember Firesheep? A scary little app, it caused a stir when it was demonstrated that its users could abuse co-users of public WiFi networks, snagging their passwords and the like. Given how popular working in coffee shops has become with the rising prevalence of free WiFi, Firesheep made many uncomfortable.
Here’s how TNW described using Firesheep, back in 2010: “Just like everyone said, running Firesheep I could see who was logged into Facebook and a bunch of other sites and with a double-click be that person.”
Its simplicity of use and easy access led to television coverage (see if you can spot the ex-TNW’er):
Tris has a point. However, there is a new technology in the market for users of Mac OS X machines and iOS devices alike that will keep them secure while on unsecure connections.
Run this little experiment: Head into any coffee shop near your house, and count the number of connected devices – then calculate the percentage that are from Apple. I’ll bet it’s more than 50%.
For those folks, ‘Cloak‘ is something that they need to check out. GeekWire, who brought the app to our attention, quotes one of its founders as describing Cloak as the “the antidote to Firesheep.” In short, run Cloak when you are out and about, and you will be safe as can be.
The catch is that the service isn’t always free, and if you enjoy streaming high-def movie content while sipping lattes, you could end up with something of a tab. If you use Cloak for just two hours a month, and employ less than 2 gigabytes of data, it’s free. $8 a month will snag you 20 gigabytes of data transfer, and $15 monthly will garner you 50 gigs.
If you are burning more than 50 gigabytes of data monthly in coffee shops and cafes, everyone else who frequents the spot hates you. Just a heads up. The company is profitable, GeekWire reports. Support for Android and Windows devices is something coming down the road.
Cloak is a neat implementation of a VPN in a way that allows it to generate profits and keep hipsters’ MySpace pages safe. Can’t hate on that.
Top Image Credit: Sheila Scarborough