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Survey: Brits confused by VPNs

February 6, 2023

Online passwords are the most misunderstood aspect of online security, with more than three quarters (78 per cent) mistakenly believing their passwords are completely safe if kept with a large company.

After surveying over 2,000 UK residents on widespread internet security myths from online banking to public WiFi, Uswitch, the broadband comparison service, determined which topics caused the most confusing subjects for Brits, from online gaming to VPNs.

Online passwords are the most misunderstood topic surveyed, with almost half (46 per cent) of Brits believing each myth around their passwords on average. With passwords functioning as the first line of security for any online account, it’s clear that misinformation is preventing many UK residents from properly managing and building a safe, secure presence on the internet.

Online banking is the topic Brits are most secure in. Only 13 per cent believed each myth on average, with the misconception that banking online is less secure than banking in-person being most commonly believed, by one in four (26 per cent) UK residents.

VPNs are among the confusing aspects of internet security

More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) of Brits are unaware that a virtual private network (VPN) can prevent an online session being hijacked on public WiFi. When a session is hijacked, hackers are able to observe any browsing on a device, as well as passwords, financial details and private information. Three quarters (75 per cent) of over 55s are unaware of this advantage of using VPNs, meaning older generations may be less informed of the methods that help build their online security.

Misconceptions around VPNs are especially common, with myths surrounding them taking the fourth and fifth position. Two thirds of UK residents are unaware that they can be utilised to disguise personal data from hackers (67 per cent), and that they make browsing on public WiFi generally safer (66 per cent).

Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch, commented: “As internet security gets stronger, scammers and hackers have, in turn, gotten better at evading it. But there are precautions that anyone can take to improve their safety online. Invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN uses remote servers to create a private network only you can access. This means that anybody monitoring your session won’t be able to access any private data, and your online presence can’t be traced back to you.”

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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