UK Commuters Put Company Data at Risk by Using Public Wi-Fi, Study Shows

All office workers admit performing work-related tasks from unsecured Wi-Fi connections

By on September 17th, 2013 16:46 GMT

A new study commissioned by GFI Software shows that all UK commuters expose their company's data by connecting to free public Wi-Fi when traveling.

All of the 1,001 interviewed office workers admitted using such Wi-Fi connections at least once a week for work-related tasks such as editing documents, sending and receiving email, and even to log into company servers.

On average, respondents said they connected to public Wi-Fi for work-related tasks 15 times per week.

The figures also show that most of the commuters (46%) consider Wi-Fi as their primary means to access the Web from their mobile devices.

52% of those who took part in the survey admitted being somewhat concerned about their data being intercepted when they use public Wi-Fi. However, they still continue to use it.

Worryingly, only 5% have corporate security policies enforced on their devices. 20% of commuters don’t have any kind of security enabled, not even a PIN or a password.

Over half (57%) are concerned about being robbed when they utilize their mobile devices in public locations.

The total number of incidents on the London public transport system has decreased. However, muggings and thefts have increased by 6.5%, mainly because of the theft of tablets and mobile phones.

“The research findings reveal a stark and concerning trend among commuters – one of using their personal devices to catch up on work during their commuting downtime, but doing so over highly insecure internet connections that can be easily intercepted by other users or the operator of the access point,” said Walter Scott, CEO of GFI Software.

“Mobile internet access is now firmly entrenched as a day-to-day norm, but with that has come an increasingly relaxed user attitude to data security, compliance and data governance policy,” Scott added.

“Companies need to address mobile device management to ensure that use in insecure environments doesn’t create vulnerabilities that could be exploited by criminals – both cyber and conventional.”

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Use of public Wi-Fi among UK commuters analyzed in GFI study
   Use of public Wi-Fi among UK commuters analyzed in GFI study