A whopping 96 per cent of Indians put personal information at risk while using public Wi-Fi for checking bank accounts, sharing personal photos and videos, a report by Norton by Symantec said. According to the ‘Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report 2017’ by Symantec, consumers are unable to resist a strong, free Wi-Fi network and their online behaviour may be placing their personal information at risk.
“There is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using public Wi-Fi versus the reality,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec, in a statement. “What someone thinks are private on their personal device can easily be accessed by cyber criminals through unsecure Wi-Fi Networks or even apps with privacy vulnerabilities,” he added.
The report says that 73 per cent of Indians will do or swap something for a strong Wi-Fi signal including watching a three minute advertisement (35 per cent), to something as critical as allowing access to personal emails (19 per cent), personal photographs (22 per cent), online dating profiles (16 per cent), contact lists (19 per cent) and giving permission to access and even edit personal social media profiles (19 per cent).
The survey also revealed that 31 per cent Indians use public Wi-Fi for viewing explicit or suggestive contents, of which 44 per cent admit to doing so at work and 49 per cent in hotels. The survey, which included more than 15,000 consumers in 15 countries, noted that almost half (48 per cent) of Indian users have accessed Wi-Fi without the Wi-Fi network owner’s permission.
The report provides certain measures to ensure security over the web which includes using Virtual Private Network (VPN) and looking for ‘HTTPS’ (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) in the web addresses while visiting a website.