When the public hears the word ‘free Wi-Fi’, you’ve got them on the hook. It is baffling that over 2 million Australians choose to conduct their financial transactions through an open network which has no semblance of security. This comes as an explanation to the public’s lack of understanding of how the free communication systems work. Consumers are clueless on the use of technology and service providers.
The RMIT University report
For the first time, an analysis was conducted on the survey data collected from a sample to represent the nationality (which included 1200 Australians). Speaking of the study, Dr. McShane, the lead author, said that there were over 10 million citizens who were on the public Wi-Fi network, 3 months before the study. Surprisingly, going by the data, a mere fraction of the user population was aware of security risk and corrective measures.
He also added that when a network is un-secure, it becomes a suitable target for hackers. Ranking at 6th on the international scale of cyber-attacks, Australians must strengthen network security. Contrarily, it was found that 20 percent of the population used the Wi-Fi services to conduct online bank transactions. It is not that there is lack of awareness on security attacks; it is that Australians choose convenience over security.
The public network used the most were those provided at restaurants and cafes, motels or hotels which provided accommodation and shopping centers. Even the Wi-Fi offered by parks and public spaces were equally utilized.
As a corrective measure, the report suggested use of VPN’s and DNS proxy while simultaneously ensuring that the operation of services is under SSL or HTTPS protocol, instead.
Wi-Fi source points within the country
Under the AU$11 million Victoria Free Wi-Fi program, the largest public Wi-Fi network was launched in Melbourne. All train stations inside the Melbourne CBD, Queen Victoria Market, Bourke Street Mall and South Wharf Promenade acted as the primary access points. The experiment which set pace with a test scale covering Ballarat and Bendigo has crossed 1 million log-in sessions in as little as a year.
Not the one to be left behind, train stations have requested tenders from internet suppliers for 56 car trains, 1430 buses, 2 ferries and 48 two car trains.
Three years ago, Adelaide became the first city to flag off free Wi-Fi using access points provided by Cisco.