Why do people use public Wi-Fi? : An investigation of risk-taking behaviour and factors lead to decisions

University essay from Högskolan i Skövde/Institutionen för informationsteknologi

Abstract: The usage of public Wi-Fi and hotspots has witnessed a substantial increase in recent times, providing convenient connectivity in various public areas. Public wireless networks are now widely accessible, especially in smart cities. However, utilising public Wi-Fi exposes individuals to potential threats to their privacy and security. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities present in public Wi-Fi networks, such as the "Evil Twin" attack, to deceive users and unlawfully obtain their personal information. The main objective of the research was to investigate people's awareness of the security risks associated with public Wi-Fi usage and to identify the factors that contribute to their willingness to take such risks. The research adopted a qualitative approach, utilising semi-structured interviews with 14 participants to gain valuable insights into their understanding and knowledge of the risks connected with public Wi-Fi. The majority of respondents employed public Wi-Fi for educational purposes, browsing the Internet, and engaging with social media platforms. Additionally, the findings of the study explored the motivations and influences that lead individuals to take risks when using public Wi-Fi. Factors such as convenience, cost-effectiveness, saving mobile data usage, limited mobile network coverage, and a lack of awareness concerning privacy and security risks emerged as the most significant reasons and influences behind the utilisation of public Wi-Fi.

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