NewsFebruary 15, 2018 @ 10:50 AM

Survey Reveals 92 Percent of IT Professionals Concerned About Public Wi-Fi Security Risks on Corporate Devices

A new survey revealed that 92 percent of IT professionals are concerned about Wi-Fi security risks related to accessing public networks on corporate devices.

According to a Spiceworks, most IT professionals believe organizations could do more to address these risks. Just 63 percent of respondents said they are confident that employees use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi on a corporate device, and even fewer (55 percent) said they think organizations are protected against these threats overall.

IoT Sparks Wi-Fi Security Concerns

Their concerns are justified: Twelve percent of respondents said their organization has suffered a security incident that involved an employee connecting to public Wi-Fi. Even more troubling is the fact 34 percent of IT professionals don’t know whether their employer has experienced such an incident due to the difficulty of detecting these events.

But IT professionals aren’t just concerned about public Wi-Fi — they’re also worried about the security of devices that are connecting to corporate networks. Respondents to the Spiceworks survey attributed the greatest risk of Wi-Fi attacks to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as IP-enabled controllers (52 percent), appliances (49 percent), video equipment (42 percent) and electronic peripherals (40 percent). By contrast, 32 percent ranked Windows laptops as the greatest risk, while 18 percent cited iOS smartphones.

“While adoption of IoT devices is increasing in the workplace, many IT professionals are still wary of connecting these often unpatchable devices to corporate Wi-Fi networks,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, in a press release. “As a result, some organizations are delaying the adoption of IoT devices and holding out hope that the forthcoming WPA3 protocol might improve Wi-Fi security.”

Don’t Wait for WPA3

But organizations don’t have to wait for WPA3 to begin addressing the persistent challenges associated with Wi-Fi security. In the meantime, they can use standard Wi-Fi security protocols and create guest Wi-Fi networks for visitors. If they haven’t done so already, they can also set up complex admin passwords on networking devices, implement strong service set identifier (SSID) networking names and enact MAC address filtering.

David Bisson

Contributing Editor

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.