The majority of WiFi users (89%) use public WiFi, even though many of them (91%) don’t feel that public WiFi is secure, according to a WiFi security survey conducted by WiFi vendor Xirrus. The survey also found a relatively low level of familiarity with ransomware, which according to Morgan Wright, a senior fellow at The Center for Digital Government, is likely to increase.
Nearly 30% of respondents to the Xirrus study (29%) were unfamiliar with ransomware – a lower level of familiarity than researchers found for phishing, snooping, malvertising and phone scams.
More often than not, individuals and organizations pay the ransom requested by attackers, according to Xirrus, which also cited a Symantec March 2016 study that found that the average ransom demanded rose to $679 from $294 at the end of 2015.
The incidence of ransomware was double the normal rate in March 2016. Symantec estimated the infection numbers at 56,000 for that month.
“As ransomware gets more sophisticated, the number of victims and methods of attacks will only increase,” said Wright, who worked with Xirrus on the research. “Businesses not only have a corporate responsibility to educate their users of the risks associated with connecting to public WiFi, but also to give them the necessary tools to avoid attack.”
Examples of such tools include identity theft protection, data encryption and security software, Wright said.
WiFi Security Survey
Other key findings of the Xirrus WiFi security survey include:
- 48% of WiFi users connect to public wiFi at least three times per week; 31% connect every day
- 83% of public WiFi users use it to access work or personal email
- 43% of public WiFi users use it to access work/job specific information
- 44% of WiFi users connect to three or more networks per day
- 70% of WiFi users would change their hotel for improved WiFi security and nearly the same amount (68%) would change their coffee shops and restaurants for improved WiFi security