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Despite Knowing Risks, People Are Banking and Filing Taxes Over Public Wi-Fi Networks

Hackers can watch your every move over unsecured networks.

[Image: Flickr user Sébastien Bertrand]

Accessing public Wi-Fi networks comes with its risks—hackers snoop on network traffic—but a new study finds 39% of U.S. adults have sent sensitive information, including banking information and social security numbers, over such unsecured networks.

Polling 2,037 adults, a study conducted by Nielsen's Harris Poll for virtual private network company Private WiFi found most people understood such risks, with 88% of respondents mentioning identity theft as a possible threat when using unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

That said, 26% of respondents said they have checked their bank accounts and 19% have paid bills while using public Wi-Fi. In addition, 8% admitted to sending emails containing sensitive information, such as social security numbers or account numbers, over these unprotected networks.

With tax season underway, 6% of respondents said they have also filed their taxes, which contain their social security number, income, and other sensitive information, over public Wi-Fi.

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