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UAE wireless consumers blasé about online security: report

Research from Norton by Symantec says nine in ten UAE consumers put their information at risk when using public WiFi

UAE wireless consumers blasé about online security: report
Taufiq noted the disconnect between what consumers perceive as safe WiFi usage and the reality.

Nearly all UAE WiFi users admit to using WiFi in a way that could put their personal and private information at risk.

According to the 2017 Norton WiFi Risk Report, 95% of UAE consumers indicate they have acted in an unsafe matter when connecting to WiFi hotspots, including potentially sharing their email or online bank account log-in information.

Two-thirds (66%) of UAE consumers can’t wait more than a few minutes before logging onto a WiFi network or asking for the password after arriving at a friend’s place, café, hotel or other location. Nearly one-third have accessed WiFi without the WiFi network owner’s permission, and one in ten guessed or hacked the password to get in, the report shows.

There is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using WiFi hotspots versus the reality, said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East. “What someone thinks is private on their personal device can easily be accessed by cybercriminals through unsecure or fake WiFi networks or even apps with privacy vulnerabilities,” Taufiq added.

In the case of using public WiFi for more personal matters, joining an unsecure network could reveal more about a person’s information than they bargained for.

More than a quarter (27%) have check their bank accounts or accessed financial information on public WiFi, and 24% have shared their credit card information. Logging into personal email is more pervasive, with 61% indicate they have used WiFi hotspots to access emails.  

Worrisome for businesses is the fact that many UAE consumers admit conduct business over public WiFi with 44% stating that they’ve accessed their work email, while 31% have also share work documents (including financials) over the same network.

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