U.S. Sen.Charles Schumer recently called on major Internet companies such as Amazon.com and Twitter to switch to more secure protocols to make their private information safer when individuals use public Wi-Fi connections to log in to these sites, according to a report from Reuters. Recent studies have found that hackers can linger with connections on these public access points and spy on consumers’ login data.
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“The number of people who use WiFi to access the Internet in coffee shops, bookstores and beyond is growing by leaps and bounds,” Schumer said, according to the report. “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.”
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There are a number of simple programs, such as the widely used browser extension called Firesheep, that makes it easy for crooks to monitor this information, the report said. Schumer added that many Internet companies have known about this problem since 2007 but have been slow to correct the security holes.
One way for consumers to be sure their information is safe is to only log into websites that use HTTPS protocols rather than the standard HTTP.