(Source: Reuters)
Sen. Schumer (D-N.Y.) calls on popular websites to default to HTTPS

If Senator Charles Schumer gets his way, popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon will default to more secure protocol -- HTTPS instead of HTTP -- to prevent identity theft in Wi-Fi hotspots like coffee shops and libraries.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) held a news conference in New York yesterday to spread his message.

"What many people do not know is ... hackers can use wireless hot spots as a gateway to your most private information," Schumer told reporters at the event, held at a Manhattan coffee shop. 

"The quickest and easiest way to shut down this one-stop shop for identity theft is for major Web sites to switch to secure HTTPS web addresses instead of the less secure HTTP protocol," Schumer said.

One of the senator's staffers demonstrated how easy it is to hack someone else's machine on an open Wi-Fi network by hacking into the Twitter account of a colleague that was also connected to the coffee shop's wireless network. 

Schumer called on top-level executives at Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Amazon to change their default protocols to HTTPS. He said he would be sending letters to the heads of the companies urging them to make the change. 

"The bottom line is, if we let this proliferate, everyone is going to pay the price," Schumer said. "It could become the leading cause of identity theft."

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