Are Canadians Too Trusting of Public Wi-Fi?

The Facts:

Norton, a division of Symantec published a global study on public Wi-Fi use. Here's the link to the full study.

In the study, participants from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico were questioned on their public wireless use habits. After reading the published results, the findings were shocking. To give you an idea of the prevalence of public wireless use across the globe, here are a few statistics:

  • 86% of consumers globally have used public Wi-Fi on at least one of their devices
  • 57% of consumers believe their information is safe when using public Wi-Fi
  • Only 1 in 3 consumers can tell the difference between a secure and unsecured public Wi-Fi network

Interesting...But how does Canada compare with these global averages?

Oh, Canada...

Well, let's take a look at public Wi-Fi usage in general. The global average is 86%, though in Canada that average is higher at 89%. So of Canada's 36 million people, roughly 32 million of them are utilizing public wireless networks. Services such as Shaw Go Wi-Fi provide public wireless access at over 75,000 hot spots in Western Canada alone.

Canadians place a far greater amount of trust in our public wireless networks than any other participating country. For example:

The Bottom Line?

The data clearly shows that Canadians indeed are far too trusting in public Wi-Fi. What is there to do about this problem? Well, the first and most important step is education and understanding. Most importantly, you and you alone are responsible for the information you knowingly, or unknowingly share over public wireless networks. It is not the responsibility of the provider or the website you are accessing, nor is it the police or law enforcement.

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is the only way to ensure that your information is safe while using public Wi-Fi. A VPN will create a secure, encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN provider, protecting your personal information and data from unwelcome exposure on the public Wi-Fi network. Contact LAN Solutions if you have additional questions, or would like information regarding the security of personal information of unsecured wireless networks.