Protecting Your Personal Data On Wi-Fi NetworksMany consumers recognize the sensitivity of their Wi-Fi password, but "borrowing" unprotected Wi-Fi still prevalent
AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Every day millions of people
worldwide take advantage of Wi-Fi technology to connect computing, entertainment
and mobile devices. It is important to recognize that connecting to a Wi-Fi
network without security protections enabled can put sensitive data at risk. The
Wi-Fi Alliance, a global, independent, non-profit trade organization that works
to deliver the best possible Wi-Fi connectivity experience, urges consumers to
resolve to protect their Wi-Fi networks and devices.
With an estimated 201 million households using Wi-Fi networks(1) and as many as
750,000 Wi-Fi hotspots available worldwide, more personal data is being carried
by these networks, making Wi-Fi security paramount in importance.
In a recent poll conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with Wi-Fi
Alliance, 40 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to trust
someone with their house key than with their Wi-Fi network password. More than
one quarter of those surveyed said sharing their Wi-Fi network password feels
more personal than sharing their toothbrush.
Yet "borrowing" Wi-Fi access is still a somewhat common practice. The poll
showed that 32 percent of respondents said they have tried to get on a Wi-Fi
network that wasn't theirs - up 18 percent from a December 2008 poll.
"Most consumers know that leaving their Wi-Fi network open is not a good thing,
but the reality is that many have not taken the steps to protect themselves,"
said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director for the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Consumers
can usually activate Wi-Fi security protections in a few simple steps, but much
like the seatbelts in your car, it won't protect you unless you use it."
Here are a few key things that Wi-Fi users can do to secure their Wi-Fi devices
and personal data:
-- Set home Wi-Fi networks for WPA2(TM) security - Wi-Fi Protected Access
2 (WPA2) is the latest in network security technology. It controls who
connects to the network and encrypts data for privacy. It is important
to note that the security level of a home network is determined by the
least capable device and many devices ship with security options
disabled as the default. For the most up-to-date protection, a network
should include only products capable of WPA2 security.
-- Look for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) products - Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices are
required to implement WPA2 security.
-- Look for devices with Wi-Fi Protected Setup(TM) - With an action as
simple as the push of a button, new devices can be added to an existing
-- Create strong passwords - Ensure that your network password is at least
8 characters long, does not include any dictionary words or personal
information, and is a mix of upper and lower case letters and symbols. A
tip that might make password management easier is to create an acronym
from easy-to-remember phrases. For example, "my daughter's birthday is
July 7, 1987" could become the password "MDBi7787."
-- Be smart about hotspot use - Most public hotspots leave security
protections turned off, so while connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot is
great for general internet surfing, users should not transmit sensitive
data, such as bank account login information.
-- Turn off automatic connecting - Many products such as mobile phones and
notebooks are set by default to sense and automatically connect to any
available wireless signal. Users should turn off automatic connecting
and only connect to and from networks and devices they are familiar
The Wi-Fi Alliance has in-depth information regarding security at
www.wi-fi.org/security and consumers can easily search for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
products at http://www.wi-fi.org/search_products.php to find devices with the
latest security protections.
Methodological note:The poll was conducted among 1,054 Americans ages 18+. The
interviews were conducted by Wakefield Research between December 10th and
December 16th, 2010. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate
representation of the total U.S. population aged 18 and older. Survey results
have a margin of error of 3.02%
About the Wi-Fi Alliance
The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of
leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across
devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and
regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi
The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) program was launched in March 2000. It provides a
widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to
ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience. The Wi-Fi
Alliance has completed more than 9,000 product certifications to date,
encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and