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Unprotected Wi-Fi

With free Wi-Fi networks rapidly appearing across the UK in the run-up to the Olympics, Kaspersky Lab is warning that data on most mobile devices could easily fall into the hands of cybercriminals. This conclusion has been reached by the IT firm after research conducted by Harris Interactive in February-March 2012 that analysed customer attitudes towards modern technologies and security threats. The company surveyed almost 9,000 consumers from the USA, Europe and Russia.



The survey found that about 70 per cent of tablet owners and 53 per cent of mobile phone users will access free public Wi-Fi hotspots to go online. This is one of the most popular ways to access the Internet, along with cellular networks, which are used by 58 per cent of those surveyed for data communication. With free Wi-Fi being made available at 80 tube and 56 over-ground stations across London by the end of the year, the time is now for people to be more vigilant.


But it seems that many users are unaware of the dangers of free Wi-Fi networks, especially the fact that data transferred across the link can easily be intercepted by cybercriminals. That could well include login data for online banking systems. This is particularly alarming given that interception of sensitive financial data is the biggest source of concern for about 60 per cent of users. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that mobile devices are generally less protected from unauthorised access than desktop or laptop computers.


The survey also suggests that security solutions are installed on less that half of all tablets and barely a quarter of mobile phones/smartphones (28 per cent). At the same time, 82 per cent of users have antivirus software installed on their home PCs and laptops. This happens even though there are mobile applications such as Kaspersky Mobile Security on the market already designed for protection of both the device itself and the information stored on it.


The full report on the survey by Harris Interactive for February-March 2012 is available on this link.


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