Widespread Worldwide Wi-Fi Hotspots

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A study from Wi-Fi provider iPass indicates that the UK has a Wi-Fi hotspot for every 11 people, that’s a 33% growth from 2013. Is this growth a good thing? Do people understand how to properly protect themselves when using public Wi-Fi hotspots?

At first it seems like a startling number but when you consider that almost every coffee shop, pub, train station, bus and myriad other locations have their very own hotspots, it’s hardly surprising.

The scary predication is that there could be 340 million Wi-Fi hotspots globally in four years’ time: that’s one for every 20 people worldwide.

“A breeding ground for Malware”

I asked Mark James, ESET security specialist, about the security questions raised by increased Wi-Fi coverage.

“I think it does indeed open a security question, who is responsible for the router that is hosting the wifi spot? Has the end user done all they can to ensure that default passwords are changed and their device has not been compromised?

Open Wi-Fi spots are a breeding ground for malware [and] mobile security is becoming a much bigger concern with more and more devices.

Mark goes on to explain that “virtually everything we do these days requires internet access [and] often the end user does not see a mobile device as a security hazard in the same way as their desktop.”

“The need for increased security”

As we learned back in my blog post about people giving away their firstborn children for Wi-Fi, most people don’t take a lot of notice about what they are agreeing to or what they are doing once they are on a hotspot.

As Mark puts it, “we strive for 100% coverage and often will look at internet availability before anything else and that enforces the need for increased security.”