Session hijacking is a concern when using the internet. Whether you’re browsing a news website, social media network or any other site, you’ll send and receive data with a server. Sessions allow for the exchange of data between your website and the server. Sessions, however, can be hijacked. The good news is that you can prevent session hijacking by taking some basic precautions.

What Is Session Hijacking?

Session hijacking is a cyber threat that involves a hacker intercepting or “predicting” the token for a user’s session. Sessions allow users to communicate with websites. Networking protocols are based on sessions. A token is essentially a digital key that authenticates the user’s identity.

The Pitfalls of Session Hijacking

If you’re the victim of session hijacking, you may have your personal information stolen. The hacker will essentially be able to log in and use the website to which you’re connected under your identity. If you have any personal information on the website, the hacker may access and use it for nefarious purposes.

Session hijacking can lead to phishing. The hacker may modify the content of the website to which you’re connected for phishing purposes. Some phishing schemes are conducted over email, but others are conducted over websites via session hijacking.

Tips to Prevent Session Hijacking

Selecting choosing Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) websites will lower your risk of being targeted with session hijacking. HTTPS is a networking protocol. It’s essentially an upgraded and more secure version of HTTP. Both networking protocols are based on sessions, but HTTPS includes encryption.

When you connect to an HTTPS website, your data will automatically be encrypted. Therefore, hackers won’t be able to hijack your session. Even if a hacker intercepts your session token, he or she won’t be able to read it. HTTPS will encrypt your data.

You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to prevent session hijacking. A VPN is an application that creates a secure private network over the internet. Like the HTTPS networking protocol, it will encrypt your data. VPNs are designed to encrypt data so that hackers can’t access or use it.

Installing antivirus software on your computer will better protect you from session hijacking. Session hijacking has many different causes. One of the leading causes, though, is malware. There are certain types of malware that are designed specifically to steal cookies and, thus, hijack users’ sessions. With antivirus software, you can keep this and other forms of malware off your computer.