Canadian Security Magazine

Report: risky behaviour the norm on public Wi-Fi

By Staff   

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According to a recent report, free Wi-Fi may prove irresistible to consumers and few seem aware of the inherent risks.

The Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report surveyed more than 15,000 consumers in 15 countries to learn about their public Wi-Fi practices and perceptions.

Highlights from the the report include:

  • Sixty per cent of consumers globally feel their personal information is safe when using public Wi-Fi, yet 53 per cent can’t tell the difference between a secure or unsecure public Wi-Fi network.
  • Seventy-three per cent of Americans are not using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure their Wi-Fi connections
  • Twenty-two per cent admit to viewing adult content on public Wi-Fi. Of those people, 45 per cent admit to doing so at work and 46 per cent have done so in a café/restaurant.
  • Thirty-five per cent have accessed Wi-Fi without the Wi-Fi network owner’s permission; 12 per cent guessed or hacked the password to get in.
  • Ninety-two per cent of Americans have potentially put personal information at risk while using public Wi-Fi, including checking their bank accounts, yet 40 per cent reported they would feel horrified if their financial details were stolen and published online by hackers.

“There is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using public Wi-Fi versus the reality,” said Fran Rosch, executive vice president, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. “What someone thinks is private on their personal device can easily be accessed by cybercriminals through unsecure Wi-Fi Networks or even apps with privacy vulnerabilities.”

The report was commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by research firm Reputation Leaders through international online panel company Research Now.


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