The Wi-Fi Alliance sent out a press release this morning sharing the results of their Wi-Fi Security Barometer Survey. The survey was conducted in August and involved interviewing 1,000 people regarding the security of the wireless networks they use. 97% of those responding thought their network was secure but when it came down to brass tacks and follow-up questions that asked if specific methods had been employed, the survey found networks were less secured than individuals thought.
Most users have taken basic security steps but only 59% were using strong passwords. The Wi-Fi Alliance sees this as an increase in basic measures with definite room to grow for consumers taking more steps and becoming more educated about securing their Wi-Fi.
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
To help, the Wi-Fi Alliance has security tips at http://www.wi-fi.org/security. They have also established a simple checklist to cover the basics of securing your network.
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.
I’d go ahead and throw “Use HTTPS whenever possible, especially when using Wi-Fi” in there and then you’re pretty well off for consumer use of Wi-Fi.