Norton By Symantec Research Finds Most Canadians Feel Invincible on Public Wi-Fi

For a second year, Norton by Symantec surveyed consumers around the world about their public Wi-Fi behaviors and perceptions – finding consumers continue to willingly put their personal information at risk despite security gaps in public Wi-Fi networks.

Yet, what’s astonishing is the false sense of security consumers feel while using public Wi-Fi – the 2017 Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report found 64 per cent of Canadians feel safe when using public Wi-Fi, yet only 16 per cent of people use a VPN to secure their Wi-Fi connection. And while online, Canadians admit to some questionable behaviors:

  • 12 per cent of Canadians admit to viewing adult content on public Wi-Fi.
    • Of those who admit to using public Wi-Fi to watch adult content, the top five locations where they’ve done so were:
      • Hotel/Airbnb (48 per cent)
      • At a friend’s place (31 per cent)
      • Café/Restaurant (28 per cent)
      • Work (23 per cent)
      • Airport (17 per cent)
    • Eighty-eight per cent of Canadians have taken actions on public Wi-Fi that potentially put their information at risk:
      • Sixty-six per cent of Canadians have logged into a personal email account over public Wi-Fi.
      • Thirty-one per cent of Canadians have checked banking or financial information over public Wi-Fi.

Here’s are some things that you can do to protect yourself:

  • Take Protective Measures: One of the best ways to protect your information online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from a trusted vendor. VPNs provide a “secure tunnel” that encrypts data being sent and received between your device and the internet.
  • Do HTTPS: Many companies use secure websites — HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) — to provide online security. You can tell if a website is secure if it has “https” in its URL and has a small lock symbol next to it. However, even though the website itself might be safe, your personal information could still be vulnerable if your network connection isn’t secure.
  • Sharing Less Is Best: Think twice before entering any type of personal information – from passwords, to financial details and photos – over public networks. Even if you’re not actively sharing the information, your device may be doing so for you. Many devices are programmed to automatically seek connections to other devices on the same network, which could cause your files to be vulnerable. Be sure to disable sharing on your devices to ensure what’s yours stays yours.

For Canadian specific insights, you can read the Norton WiFi Risk Report on Canada [Warning: PDF].

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