Survey Says: Commuters Put Work Data at Risk

A recent study shows a startling high number of workers use unsecure wireless Internet sources during their daily commute.

The study was conducted by Opinion Matters for GFI Software. It looked at how often free wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, is being used for business purposes, particularly during a commute to work. The main issue identified is that most of these Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecure, meaning data or information transferred using the connection is susceptible to cyber attacks. The study found that approximately 95.6 percent of people commuting daily for work are using wireless Internet hot spots for business-related tasks.

The survey asked 1,000 office workers in the United States that use their smartphone or tablet computer commuting by subway, train, or bus daily. Not only did more than 95 percent admit to using unsecure Wi-Fi for their work tasks on their commute, but roughly 34 percent percent of them admitted to using the free wireless Internet 20 or more times during the week, with some saying they accessed it over 70 times in a week.

Another finding of the GFI Software study revealed that more than 60 percent of respondents said they will use any wireless source they can find, regardless of where it is or how secure it is, and the same amount of people become impatient and frustrated if they are somewhere that Wi-Fi is not available.

Additionally, one of the more shocking pieces of information from the study is that 20 percent of the people who took part in the survey admitted to not having security enabled on their phone or tablet, not even requiring a PIN or password to access it or the information.

This means that commuters are working during their commute, but not taking the time to be sure their work is done over a secure connection. This not only puts their own identities and information at risk, but their employers as well.

Walter Scott, the CEO of GFI Software, told reporters:

“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. 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.”

Here are some other statistics discovered from the survey:

  • Over 40 percent of the surveyed commuters use 4G data services from their mobile phone as the main way of using Internet outside their home or office.
  • 83 percent of all 1,000 participants use a mobile device while using public transportation during their commute.
  • 59.8 percent do have worries about being robbed while they use their tablet or smartphone in public areas.
  • Less than 30 percent of people using Wi-Fi during their commute are concerned about cyber attacks when using unsecured networks.
  • 44.6 percent admitted to using their mobile device while using the restroom.

The results of this study prove that not only are people using unsecure networks when completing work-related tasks while commuting, but it also highlights how vulnerable companies can be as a result. Small businesses need to have policies and securities in place that avoid these security vulnerables. In addition, they should consider protecting their business prior to the unfortunate event of a cyber attack with a cyber liability insurance policy.