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Free WiFi can lead to identity theft, hijacked accounts (infographic)

October 18th, 2012

cyber security imageMore than three quarters – 79% – of respondents to a   survey, conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) in conjunction with PRIVATE WiFi, believe that using a free Wi-Fi connection can lead to identity theft.

And nearly half – 45% – of respondents said they were concerned about their security when using a public hotspot and 15% indicated that they were “very concerned.” 44% of respondents weren’t aware that there is a way to protect their sensitive information while using a public hotspot.

According to the survey, most people know public WiFi networks are not entirely safe.

Nearly 70% of those surveyed stated that they knew a password used to gain Internet access in a public hotspot was not sufficient enough to keep their data secure. Another

24% stated that they made online purchases in a public hotspot, and 57% admitted to accessing confidential work-related information while using a public hotspot.

“We live in a data-driven society where we want to have access to everything at all times, from anywhere- no matter the cost,” said Kent Lawson, founder and CEO of PRIVATE WiFi.

“I think the most disconcerting thing we learned from our study is that there is a significant measure of concern when it comes to public Wi-Fi security, yet very few realize that there is a simple, yet effective solution in a personal VPN like PRIVATE WiFi.”

“Our study revealed that only 27% of respondents use a VPN to protect themselves. While there are various ways to secure your data and identity in a public Wi-Fi hotspot, the most reliable solution that we at the ITRC recommend is a personal VPN,” said Rex Davis, director of operations at the ITRC. “There is no doubt that Wi-Fi hotspots are vulnerable, and VPN technology offers the greatest level of protection.”

We actually had both our Twitter and Facebook accounts briefly hijacked after using a public WiFi spot at a conference. Since then, we’ve used virtual private network connections when on free WiFi networks.

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