Mobile working survey: cafés see highest number of Wi-Fi security incidents
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

The iPass Mobile Security Report 2018 has revealed that 57 per cent of 500 organisations from the US, UK, Germany and France, suspect that their mobile workers have been hacked or caused a mobile security issue in the last 12 months.

81 per cent of respondents said they had seen Wi-Fi related security incidents in the last 12 months, with cafés and coffee shops (62 per cent) ranked as the venues where such incidents had occurred most. That was closely followed by airports (60 per cent) and hotels (52 per cent), with other locations on the list including train stations (30 per cent), exhibition centres (26 per cent), and in-flight (20 per cent).

94 per cent of enterprises said that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has increased mobile security risks. Overall, 92 per cent of organisations said they were concerned their growing mobile workforce presents an increasing number of mobile security challenges.

The research also shows the majority of organisations are still addressing mobile security problems by banning employee usage of free Wi-Fi hotspots. More than a quarter (27 per cent) ban their use at all times, while 40 per cent ban their use sometimes. A further 16 per cent plan to introduce a ban on public Wi-Fi hotspots in the future.

In 2016, the iPass Mobile Security Report stated that 26 per cent of organisations were fully confident their mobile workers were using a VPN every time they went online, but that figure has jumped to 46 per cent in 2018.

UK enterprises are likely to be the most wary of employees working from cafés/coffee shops, as (81 per cent) have seen Wi-Fi related security incidents occur in such a location. Also in the UK, 42 per cent) of enterprises have no plans to ban the use of free Wi-Fi hotspots. This is significantly higher compared to the US (nine per cent), Germany (10 per cent), and France (12 per cent). In addition, UK organisations were the least confident(38 per cent) that their mobile workers are using a VPN every time they go online. The figure is higher in Germany (53 per cent), the US (49 per cent) and France (41 per cent).

“There is no escaping the fact that mobile security threats are rising. So, while it is great that mobile workers are increasingly able to work from locations such as cafés, hotels and airports, there is no guarantee the Wi-Fi hotspot they are using is fully secure,” said Raghu Konka, vice president of engineering at iPass (pictured right). “Given the amount of high-profile security breaches in recent years, it’s not surprising this issue is on the radar of CIOs. The conundrum remains – how can they keep their mobile workers secure while providing them with the flexibility to get connected anywhere using their device of choice?

“While putting a blanket ban on accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots could initially appear to stop the security problem at the source… mobile workers will stop at nothing to get themselves online. There’s no point in putting roadblocks in their way without also providing a solution,” added Konka. “Organisations must focus on taking positive action to resolve the security problems mobile workers are bringing to the table. With a secure connection through a VPN, enterprises can have confidence that Wi-Fi hotspot usage will have a positive rather than negative impact on their business. The key for organisations is to educate mobile workers about today’s security threats, and to provide them with the tools to remain productive and secure.”

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