SecureAuth Survey: Americans Giving Out Addresses, Credit Card Numbers on Public WiFi

IRVINE, Calif. – May 26, 2016 – SecureAuth Corporation, the leader in adaptive access control, today announced in conjunction with Wakefield, the results of its survey about perceptions around internet speed versus personal security and online behavior over public Wi-Fi. The report found that Americans, if given the choice, would rather improve personal online security (57%) over internet speed (43%). However, a deeper dive into demographic breakdowns paints a more complicated picture: More than half of millennials (54%) would rather improve their Internet speed than their personal online security. When it comes to public Wi-Fi, most Americans (57%) have given some sort of personal information online over public Wi-Fi – but that number jumps to 78% among millennials.

There are a couple of theories that may explain the discrepancy between millennials and older respondents. Most millennials, who have grown up with continued technological advancement, are accustomed to fast and efficient technology. Concurrently millennials, many of whom are active on a myriad of social media sites, have less qualms overall about disclosing personal information.

But, boomers can’t pat themselves on the back just yet. The survey indicates Americans as a whole are still disclosing personally identifiable information (PII) over public Wi-Fi, such as

• Their address (44%)
• Their credit card number (32%)
• Their account passwords (29%)
• Their Social Security number (16%)
• Their driver’s license number (15%)

The inherently open nature of public Wi-Fi means users are at greater risk of data theft. When theft of PII occurs, individuals are often left to manage a myriad of problems. They can include stolen identities, damage to one’s personal financial posture (owing to incidents such as the opening of credit cards in one’s name) and even data being held for ransom.

“I can speak from the experience of someone who has dealt with the ramifications of a massive, high profile PII data breach,” said Craig Lund, SecureAuth CEO. “The hacker pulled the “Craig Lund” information from the trough of 70 million stolen IDs, created a false credit card and started charging me. In that case, there was nothing I could have done to prevent the attack. In this case, individuals have agency in the matter: they can choose not to disclose PII over public Wi-Fi. This is especially important as we go into the summer travel season, when online behavior tends to be less business focused.”

Beyond taking a more scrupulous approach towards PII when browsing public Wi-Fi, individuals are also encouraged to avoid password re-use across multiple sites and when possible, seek out locations that offer private Wi-Fi. Outside of the statistics listed above, other telling findings are as follows:

• While men are split fairly evenly between personal online security (51%) and speed (49%) significantly more women care about online security (62%) vs. speed (38%)
• Education matters: 63% of college graduates care about security, vs. 47% of high school graduates

About SecureAuth

SecureAuth is the leader in adaptive access control solutions, empowering organizations to determine identities with confidence. SecureAuth® IdP provides authentication security, Single Sign-On and user self-service tools together in a single platform, allowing strong identity security while minimizing disruptions to the end-user. SecureAuth IdP is currently protecting over 5 million users worldwide. For the latest insights on adaptive access control, follow the SecureAuth blog, follow @SecureAuth on Twitter, or visit

SecureAuth® IdP is a registered trademark of SecureAuth Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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