9 in 10 US internet users do not password-protect WiFi
Using a Wi-Fi password is one of the most basic and easiest methods to secure your wireless network. Without it, anyone can access a person’s internet connection and use up their data, or worse, compromise their personal information.
Yet, according to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, an astonishing 89% of internet users in the United States have no password guarding their Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, 7% of users are not sure whether they have a Wi-Fi password, while only 3% password-protect their Wi-Fi network.
The data is based on the survey conducted by PC Matic with approximately 2,500 individuals across the United States and featured in the 2022 Password Hygiene And Habits Report.
While protecting Wi-Fi with a password is the first step to ensuring network security, good password hygiene is also crucial. Default passwords provided by the internet service provider at the time of Wi-Fi setup are easy to guess and therefore are strongly recommended to be updated.
Nevertheless, according to this year’s data, almost one in ten (9%) of internet users that do use Wi-Fi passwords have never changed theirs. Additionally, 9% are unaware of how to.
Of those who changed their Wi-Fi passwords, 37% have not done so since its set up. Fortunately, the number of such people has dropped by 4% since 2021.
On the flip side, 23% change their Wi-Fi passwords annually. Meanwhile, the remaining 22% take their network security very seriously by updating their passwords every month — a 4% increase from a year before.
Leaving one’s Wi-Fi unprotected can have many severe consequences for the network owner. For one, virtually anyone nearby can access their Wi-Fi network and use up their internet data and bandwidth, which may lead to extra internet data charges and slower speed.
Malicious actors can use someone’s unsecured Wi-Fi to access illegal content and do some other illicit activities. But it is the network owner that can be held accountable for all the misdemeanors of the perpetrators since any investigation would lead to the owner.
Moreover, the perpetrators can monitor the unencrypted traffic sent across the network, including personal information such as addresses, passwords, financial details, and more, which they can then use to commit fraud.