Digital

Fear of identity theft is not a deterrent for using public wi-fi — but it should be

Oct 15, 2012 6:16 am

Skift Take

Internet ignorance is bliss. Public Wi-Fi use has jumped 240 percent in the past year, but privacy fears aren’t strong enough to stop users from sharing credit card numbers and work files on open servers.

— Samantha Shankman

Sponsored by:

Get the Latest Intelligence on the Travel Industry


Despite the fear of identity theft and threats from computer viruses, the use of public wireless Internet access has jumped 240 percent in the last 12 months, a new survey has found.

The top log-in sites were coffee shops and restaurants (75 percent), hotels (54 percent) and airports (38 percent), according to an online survey of 377 people by the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center in partnership with Private WiFi, a firm that develops online protection software.

Summertime lunch in Bryant Park, Aug 2009 - 52

Cafes and restaurants are the top log-in sites. Photo by Ed Yourdon.

Still, Internet users are aware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said they feared they could be victims of identity theft. Nonetheless, 24 percent of those surveyed said they made an online purchase using a credit card and 57 percent accessed sensitive work-related material.

The survey’s authors suggest users of public Wi-Fi log on with a virtual private network, or VPN, to protect their data. But 44 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t know there was a way to protect themselves while using public Wi-Fi.

(c)2012 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Tags: ,

Next Up

More on Skift

What Travel Marketers Can Learn From New Orleans’ Move to Digital Marketing
The Boutique Publishers Crafting Content for Big Travel Brands
Priceline CEO Huston Earned $17.9 Million in 2013, a ‘Very Good Year’ for the Company
Why Personalized Data Matters to Boosting Your Bottom-Line

We're the Moneyball of the Travel Industry

We know what's coming next in travel. Subscribe to the newsletter and get all the goodness in your inbox daily.