InfoSec Seminar: The Continued Risks of Public Wi-Fi and Why Users Keep Using It

Speaker: Nissy Sombatruang

Date/Time: 30-May-2019, 16:00 UTC

Venue: Roberts 309



Public Wi-Fi networks provide a convenient way to connect to the Internet. However, these networks harbour security and privacy risks. Despite growing awareness of the risks and mobile data is becoming faster and more affordable, many people continue to use these unsecured networks. To identify effective risk mitigating strategies, we first need to understand the risks of public Wi-Fi today and the underlying factors driving user decisions. We present the results from our work in the UK and in Japan. Our findings show that the risks of public Wi-Fi is still concerning. We also identify the desire to conserve mobile data - a form of resource preservation heuristic - significant prompts the risk-taking attitude and influence participants to use public Wi-Fi.


Nissy Sombatruang is a PhD student at the Department of Security and Crime Science at UCL. Her research focuses on how we can apply behavioural economics principles and theories to influence users in making a better decision in cyber security. Specifically, she is interested in examining the risks of unsecured public Wi-Fi, why users keep using it, and identify workable interventions that could incentivise users to use public Wi-Fi more securely. Outside of her primary area of research, Nissy also works on projects related to future crime, and the Internet of Things (IoTs) security. Prior to her PhD study, Nissy worked in the area of IT audit and assurance in the private sector.

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