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So I was watching some Backtrack learning videos and similar stuff, and noticed how there is always talk about getting people's information. For example if someone using unsecured WIFI you can see what pages he is browsing of even steal his Facebook session.

So as far as I understand, hacker cannot get any real value from seeing that information. Even if they steal my Facebook session and post some nonsense, they gained nothing out of it material wise, right? I mean they cannot steal my Paypal credentials because they are encrypted, all they can do is access stuff which is not that important to me in the first place.

Are there any real life examples, where hacker can get some real benefit apart from getting password to random forum or just causing harm to other person?

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2 Answers 2

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I mean they cannot steal my Paypal credentials because they are encrypted, all they can do is access stuff which is not that important to me in the first place.

This is a huge assumption.

An attacker could use something like sslstrip to change all references of HTTPS to HTTP. It is quite common for websites to serve content via HTTP and use an HTTPS login. The attacker would force you to use plaintext, while then retransmitting the data to the target site with SSL.

The attacker could also present your browser with a fake certificate when trying to access a secure site. While this would normally trigger a warning in your browser, it poses a security risk to most users. Companies often implement self signed certs poorly, and train their staff to acknowledge the warnings. This creates complacency that can leak into their personal life, as they are conditioned to see these warnings as nothing but a step in getting to their final destination.

So while a power user may not fall for some of the tricks posed, its quite possible that the average user could have important credentials stolen with these attacks pretty easily.

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Thank you guys for answers, really informative. –  user1880405 Jan 19 at 16:22

What they can do is inject malicious code into one of those pages which contains information you don't care about. This code could then potentially give them remote access to your computer. From here they are able to install keyloggers or just record your browsing sessions, being able to extract your other, valuable data.

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