Over a quarter of all public Wi-Fi hotspots are insecure, according to Kaspersky Labs. In a study conducted by the leading internet security company and published recently, researchers point out that more than 25% of all public Wi-Fi networks do not use basic encryption services.
For purposes of security, Wi-Fi networks should use specific encryption protocols to ensure that users have secure access to the internet. In most cases, such public networks make use of the security features of a system called Wi-Fi Protection Access. The system has basic encryption and password systems that help to protect the data of users.
However, according to the study, a good number of the 31 million public Wi-Fi hotspots that were surveyed across the world do not use this basic security feature.
The implications of this finding are profound. On the one hand, users of unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots can easily fall prey to hackers. Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities that they can exploit. The hackers would be easily attracted to individuals using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
More so, people who use public Wi-Fi networks to share sensitive information risk losing a lot of third parties. Hackers can access unsecured networks and even hijack live sessions on users’ computers. Therefore, individuals who carry out sensitive activities on such network face unprecedented dangers.
But one interesting perspective emerging from the report is how people are concerned with using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks and its implications. The researchers report that about 56% of internet users in the world are concerned with the dangers that they face when they use unsecured public networks. In a different study, Norton Security, reported that only 56% of internet users in the world know how to check the level of security of public Wi-Fi networks.
These findings have three major implications. The first one is that a half of internet users are concerned with their security needs when using public networks. Sadly, the people who form the remaining half do not bother to check whether the network that they are using is secure or not. This means that hackers still can have a field day whenever they target users of an unsecured network.
Second, the sheer number of people who, once in a while, use public Wi-Fi networks means that many people still face online threats arising from unsecured networks. People tend to use public Wi-Fi networks when they are in restaurants, in waiting lobbies at airports and in other public places. Interestingly, hackers tend to target the free Wi-Fi networks that organisations offer in such public places. Given this state of affairs, it is clear that threats emanating from using unsecured networks remain a priority in the world of cyber security.
Lastly, the findings of the report show that there is still need for many people to learn about the risks that they face when using public Wi-Fi networks. Also, there is a need for many people to find out how to check the security level of any public Wi-Fi network they intend to use. This approach will help people to avoid using networks that do not use WPA and, by so doing, remain safe.