Most Americans Value Convenience over Cybersecurity

Most Americans Value Convenience over Cybersecurity

December 19, 2016         Written By Bill Hardekopf

The majority of Americans (52%) are willing to ignore cybersecurity risks for the sake of convenience, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Phoenix. In addition, 60% of the respondents who use unsecure, open Wi-Fi networks do not trust the security of those networks but admit the convenience outweighs the risk in their minds.

“Millions of Americans are finishing up their holiday shopping looking for last minute deals online to make sure the perfect gift arrives in time,” said Dr. Kirsten Hoyt, academic dean at University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology. “Despite the fact that public networks are vulnerable to security breaches and hacking, the data from our survey suggests people have fairly comfortable attitudes toward using them—perhaps a little too comfortable.”

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Other key findings include:

  • 80% said they connect to public Wi-Fi at least once a week.
  • 61% use laptops, tablets and cell phones on public networks every day.
  • Only 39% trust public Wi-Fi.
  • 28% of 18 to 34-year-olds regularly shop on unsecured networks.
  • 26% strongly agree there is no difference between secured and unsecured networks.

Unsecured wireless networks do have any barriers in place, such as firewalls or passwords to protect personal information. They are not as secure as home or work networks, and it is particularly dangerous to enter your personal or credit card information while on one of these networks.

To stay safe while shopping online this holiday season, the study recommends:

  1. Verify how your information will be used and stored before you provide personal information to retailers.
  2. Emails can contain malware that give cybercriminals the ability to steal your information and hack your device, so be careful when clicking links or opening attachments in emails from strangers.
  3. Install anti-virus software and make sure your operating system is set to automatically download new security patches so your devices are secure and up-to-date.
  4. Do your online shopping on familiar websites and be on the lookout for fake websites. If you do not trust a website, do not enter your personal or credit card information. If you decide to shop on an unfamiliar website, check it on or

“It’s even easier than you think to have personal information hacked online, but there are steps you can take to help protect yourself,” Dr. Hoyt said. “The holiday season should be filled with joy, and taking the proper precautions to safely shop online can help make sure you have a happy holiday and that the gifts you have ordered arrive and arrive on time.”

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 19, 2016. For up-to-date
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About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
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