76 Percent Prefer to Join Unprotected Wi-Fi Networks over Secure
Networks that Require a Password
Redwood City, Calif., Feb. 10, 2015 – Seventy-six percent of American
smartphone and tablet users are at risk of privacy loss and identity theft via public
Wi-Fi networks, according to a recent study conducted by Avast Software, maker
of the most trusted mobile and PC security in the world. The risk of using
public Wi-Fi without a protected Internet connection leaves users’ personal
information vulnerable to cyber criminals. However, using public Wi-Fi is
harmless for users, if they install
protection that allows secure Internet connection while accessing public
surveyed more than 13,000 Americans and found that consumers prefer to join
free, public Wi-Fi networks, many of which do not require registration or a password,
to avoid data overages or simply for convenience’s sake. Additionally, 68
percent of respondents never or only sometimes turn off their Wi-Fi transmitters
and enable their mobile devices to automatically join public Wi-Fi networks,
leaving a large window for hackers to easily access sensitive personal information.
When connected to public Wi-Fi, Avast discovered that a mere six percent of
Americans use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect their mobile devices.
Overall, nine-out-of-10 respondents access open, public Wi-Fi on a monthly
basis. Forty-three percent connect daily or many times per week.
“As mobile cloud
storage becomes more popular and the quest for free Wi-Fi continues to grow,
open networks that require no passwords place unprotected consumers at great
risk of compromising sensitive personal data,” said Jude McColgan, president of
mobile at Avast. “The majority of Americans don’t realize that all the personal
information on their mobile devices becomes defenseless over public Wi-Fi if
used without protection. These networks create an easy entry point for hackers
to attack millions of American consumers on a daily basis. In order to help
better secure Americans and their sensitive personal information, we introduced
Avast SecureLine VPN so users can enjoy a protected connection while browsing
the Internet via public Wi-Fi.”
When connected to
open Wi-Fi, Avast discovered more than a third of respondents are most
concerned about having their personal financing information stolen (38 percent)
and having personal login information (usernames and passwords) stolen (34
percent). Just four percent of Americans worry about hackers accessing private
photos, chat logs, and personal email and a mere five percent are concerned
about work-related emails and documents being accessed by a third party.
Sixteen percent of those surveyed, felt “they didn’t have anything to hide.”
To remedy these issues, Avast introduced Avast SecureLine
VPN, which protects users’ Internet connections with military-grade encryption
and hides their IP address, essentially making them invisible to cybercriminals.
It also hides users’ browsing history, so no one can monitor their behavior
online. Avast SecureLine
VPN is available for Android phones and tablets on Google Play and for iOS devices in the Apple App Store.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, stand
5K29 in Hall 5, March 2 – 5, Avast will reveal additional research data points
and details, and will unveil an additional protection strategy that secures
personal data from cybercriminals on public Wi-Fi.