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The continued risks of unsecured public Wi-Fi and why users keep using it: Evidence from Japan

Sombatruang, N; Kadobayashi, Y; Sasse, MA; Baddeley, M; Miyamoto, D; (2018) The continued risks of unsecured public Wi-Fi and why users keep using it: Evidence from Japan. In: 2018 16th Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (PST) proceedings. IEEE: Belfast, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Many people find public Wi-Fi networks convenient but these networks harbor security and privacy risks. As public knowledge of these risks becoming common, we investigated whether the risks were still at large and what factors influenced users to use the networks — being the first study to draw evidence from Japan. Adapting the methodology from a previous study in the UK, we first set up an experimental open public Wi-Fi network at 11 locations in downtown Nara and captured Internet traffic. From approximately 7.7 million packets captured from 196 unique mobile devices during a 150-hour experiment, we found private photos, emails, documents, and login credentials being transmitted in clear text without encryption — confirming that not only did many applications still fail to encrypt data-inmotion but also did many users continue to use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. We then used a scenario-based survey to examine factors affecting the users’ decision to use the networks. From 103 participants, we found that the desire to conserve mobile data — a form of resource preservation heuristic — instigated a risk-taking attitude and influenced participants, especially among those usually having a small monthly data plan, to use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Female and those having finish highschool only, were also more likely to use the networks.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: The continued risks of unsecured public Wi-Fi and why users keep using it: Evidence from Japan
Event: 2018 16th Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (PST)
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Dates: 28- 30 August 2018
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/PST.2018.8514208
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/PST.2018.8514208
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Public Wi-Fi Security, Human-Centered Security, Users Decision-Making, Resource Preservation Heuristic
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10074787
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