85% of Consumers Use Social Media Networks While Connected to Public WiFi

free wifiThey’re so popular, those ubiquitous mobile devices. For better or worse, we’ve evolved into a society that is a texting, Facebooking, Snapchatting, online-banking, TMI-ing, forever-connected, 24/7-kind of world.  And 85% of users are connecting to social media sites via public WiFi!

There’s positives to that, for sure, and is a great way to stay connected. But have you ever considered the negatives when you’re doing all that in a public wireless hotspot? After all, identity theft is a huge epidemic — have you ever thought about the risks to your personal life by using a “free” Internet connection? What information are you (over)sharing? Is that data protected and encrypted from prying eyes? What security tools do you use regularly?

PRIVATE WiFi recently partnered with our friends at the Identity Theft Resource Center about overall consumer privacy beliefs in WiFi hotspots. The results as shown in the infographic below are startling yet informative.

Please include attribution to privatewifi.com with this graphic.

Free WiFi Costs More Than You Think
85% of the 700+ respondents login to their social media accounts while connected to public WiFi. This can leave your social media credentials exposed because logging on through a public wireless connection makes you vulnerable. Any sensitive information transmitted on WiFi via Facebook, Twitter or any other social can easily be hacked by cyber criminals.

Such unprotected communications can lead to identity theft or even credit fraud. 76% believe that using a free public WiFi hotspot connection can lead to identity theft.  Yet 46% of those respondents were not aware there is a way to protect their private information while using a public hotspot!

Connecting to any network that offers free Internet access makes social media users incredibly vulnerable to hacking attacks. Unfortunately, many users assume using public wireless is the same as logging into our home or office networks. But public WiFi is not secure and users are responsible for protecting their data and communications.

“Every day we read about public areas like parks, train stations, and schools adding free public WiFi, but we are not hearing about what this means for individuals using these services, the hazards that prowl, or how to protect ourselves,” said Kent Lawson, founder and CEO of PRIVATE WiFi.

“The public needs to know just how easy it is for hackers to hack into these public airwaves and steal your private information right out of thin air,” he adds.

Ignorance is not bliss – identity theft can cause a huge headache and cost a lot of money if the proper precautions are not taken.

“The most reliable solution to keep private information private and what we, at ITRC, recommend is to use a personal VPN,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO at the ITRC.

“VPN technology offers the greatest level of protection and is an easy solution for anyone choosing to use free public WiFi,” she adds.

Editor’s Note: This article is a guest post by our sponsor Private Wifi.

Recommended Resources

PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.

SocialSafe helps you to create your library of you. It’s the safest place for your online life. Downloaded to your computer, auto organised and instantly searchable. Supports most major social networks.

BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.

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