Wi-Fi® Security Barometer Reveals Large Gap Between What Users Know and What They Do

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — 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. However, 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 included:

  • 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

More information about Wi-Fi security, including innovations that make setting up security easier, is available at www.wi-fi.org/security. Users can test their own security knowledge with a quick online quiz, watch animations about home Wi-Fi security, and download white papers with detailed information.

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