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By: MarkJ - 25 January, 2012 (12:47 PM)
uk wireless wifi network security and piracyA new online survey of 2,124 UK adults from UK2 and YouGov has claimed that 56% of respondents could be putting their computer/phone security at risk by failing or only "rarely" checking whether a public Wi-Fi (wireless internet) network is encrypted (secure) before use.

The study claims that public Wi-Fi Hotspots, such as those in coffee shops, pubs, airports or hotels, are often unsecured connections that could expose personal data or leave devices open to online threats (e.g. malware, spyware and cyber-snooping). The company that hosts the hotspot could also be blamed if any copyright content is downloaded over their connection.

Russell Foster, Managing Director of VPNHQ at UK2, added:

"The results of our research on public WiFi usage suggest that users prioritise convenience over taking sensible security precautions. The amount of personal data transmitted from mobile devices is growing, making them increasingly attractive targets for cyber criminals."

Thankfully the study also reveals that 86% of online adults who accessed Wi-Fi at home do take measures to ensure that their wireless connection is secure. Here are a few more highlights.
UK2 Wireless Security Survey Highlights

• 45% of UK WiFi users could be putting their passwords and data at risk by using public WiFi to log-in to email, 37% access Facebook and 14% even log-in to online banking.

• 15% of the UK’s public WiFi users have entered credit or debit card details over a public WiFi network.

• 40% of all online UK adults worry about cyber-snooping.

• But 42% of all online UK adults who ever use public WiFi never or only “rarely” check whether or not a WiFi network is secure before use.

• Whereas 86% of all online UK adults who ever access Wi-Fi at home take measures to ensure that their WiFi at home is secure.

• 42% of all online UK adults would use public WiFi more often if they could guarantee the security of their data.

• 67% do not know what a VPN is, and are therefore unaware of how a Virtual Private Network could make their data usage more secure.

• And 68% of smartphone owners do not even know whether or not their smartphone has a VPN function.
As per usual UK2's real reason for commissioning the survey is to launch its new VPNHQ service, which will quickly and easily enable users to set up an encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. It also helps to mask your identity online.

At present there's no real shortage of VPN services around, thus VPNHQ is attempting to entice customers by making its service available for free.. well at least for an unspecified "limited time". After that it'll cost you £4 per month. But don't buy its claims of "Unlimited" Internet Speed as VPN's can only ever go as fast as your physical connection.
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