Wi-Fi users in the U.S. are confident that they are taking the right steps to protect themselves when using Wi-Fi devices. In fact, 97 percent of Wi-Fi users recently surveyed by Wakefield Research for the Wi-Fi Alliance report they believe the data on their devices and networks is “safe and secure.”
However, when asked about which of several recommended steps they have actually taken to protect their Wi-Fi networks or devices, respondents received an overall score of 66 percent, revealing that in practice, users were actually not as safe as they could be.
Most users (86 percent) have taken basic steps to ensure the privacy and security of their Wi-Fi network by enabling security protections on their access point or router.
The survey data reveals significant gaps that could lead to a false sense of security. Significantly, only 59 percent of users have implemented passwords meeting basic criteria for strength and privacy.
Other survey findings include:
- Two out of three Wi-Fi users recognize that responsibility for the security of their data lies with them
- Eighty-five percent of survey respondents understand that their Wi-Fi devices should not be set for automatic sharing, yet only 62 percent actually have auto-sharing turned off
- Only 18 percent of users report that they use a VPN (virtual private network) tool when in a hotspot
- Users who have suffered the effects of a computer virus are no more likely to have better Wi-Fi security behavior than those who have never had any computer viruses
- Users who ranked themselves as “tech-savvy” are no more likely to score better on measures of Wi-Fi security behavior than those who said they are less comfortable with technology.
Getting a passing grade on Wi-Fi security can be as simple as A-B-C:
A: Enable WPA2 security on your network and devices. Look for products with Wi-Fi Protected Setup for simple, easy-to-use steps to enable security.
B: Passwords are in your control. Create a strong Wi-Fi network password that is at least eight characters long and includes a mixture of upper and lower case letters and symbols. It is a good practice to change passwords on a regular basis, perhaps once a year during Cyber Security Month.
C: When on the go, connect to networks you know and trust and turn off automatic sharing on devices so you can control what you connect to and who/what connects to you.