Survey Shows 71 Percent Brits Prefer Faster Internet Over Online Security
By Paul Liu
Monday, March 6th, 2017
While security experts have been warning about the dangers associated with public Wi-Fi networks for quite some time now; there is still a noticeable lack of awareness regarding the issue among the general public. This was recently confirmed by the results of a survey which showed that as many as 71 percent of British people preferred access to a faster Wi-Fi network rather than a secure one. The survey was conducted was SecureAuth which is a California based provider of adaptive access control and authentication security solutions (including Single Sign-On and 2-Factor authentication solutions).
The survey results seem to indicate that Brits are somewhat clueless regarding the security problems posed by insecure Wi-Fi networks. While a majority of survey participants did admit that they felt safer if the Wi-Fi network they were connecting to asked for security credentials, about 23 percent of the respondents said that they felt secure even if the Wi-Fi network did not ask for usernames and passwords! These people seemed completely oblivious to the fact that public Wi-Fi networks are inherently insecure and anyone with access to right sniffing tools could read their sensitive data while they were connected to it.
The survey results also throw a light on what kind of data the Brits are willing to share while connected to wireless networks. Shockingly 3 in 5 Brits did not see any problems with sharing their personally identifiable information (PII) while on public Wi-Fi networks. As many as 69 percent of survey participants admitted to sharing their email address while connected to public wireless networks, 49 percent said that they shopped online, 36 percent said that they did online banking whereas 20 percent admitted to sharing their home address. What’s worse, 28 percent of survey participants accessed their work emails through such networks thus exposing their organization to hackers and criminals. This is indeed a worrying trend since exposing PII over Wi-Fi networks could lead to stolen identities, theft of money and/or data as well as exposure to fraud and ransomware.
If we look at demographics of the survey participants, 34 percent women preferred online security over internet speed while just 20 percent of men voted in the favor of security. The survey results also show that baby boomers and Generation X were a lot more cautious about online security than the millennials. While 54 percent of participants from the older generation preferred access to a secure network, a whopping 76 percent of the millennials preferred faster connectivity.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Craig Lund, SecureAuth’s CEO; said that there is one Wi-Fi hotspot for every six people in UK so there is plenty of opportunity for hackers. He also added that the year 2015 witnessed more than 2000 security breaches and a big majority of them happened via public Wi-Fi. He is also of the opinion that businesses should not leave the matter of security to end-users. Craig recommended using a VPN, not disclosing banking and PII information, not reusing same password across multiple sites and making use of secure authentication methods (including 2-Factor authentication) to remain safe while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.