The UK is ranked worst for WI-FI security, according to new research.

This is according to OneLogin, an identity and access management provider, which surveyed 5,000 remote employees from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the United States, to coincide with World Password Day.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown or social distancing measures currently in place in many locations has resulted in a move to remote access. Because of this, many employees may now be accessing sensitive company data or company networks from home, making security key.

However, the research revealed that in the UK, 50% of respondents had not changed their home WI-FI password in the last two years, compared with 36% overall. 25% of all of those surveyed never changed their password.

The importance of Wi-Fi security

Changing WI-FI passwords regularly and ensuring passwords are difficult to guess is important as it makes it harder for hackers to gain access to the network and use malware to access your device or interfere with network traffic. However, many do not do this, with a proportion still using their router’s default password.

Furthermore, 10% of UK consumers said they had downloaded a work application without their work’s permission, and 17% have accessed work applications from a non-work device. 5% also admitted to accessing adult entertainment websites from a work device.

Worryingly, almost 1 in 5 respondents admitted to sharing their work device password with either their spouse or child.

With the coronavirus pandemic having a significant impact on how we work, it is likely that remote working will become more commonplace moving forward, with 60% of UK consumers expect a change in business culture towards remote working.

In this context, ensuring that employees adopt vigilant cybersecurity practises is important. OneLogin advises employers to ensure users are keeping web browsers and applications up to date, regularly run malware detection tools on all company devices and restrict users’ ability to download potentially harmful software.

“Organisations everywhere are facing unprecedented challenges as millions of people are working from home, said Brad Brooks, CEO and president of OneLogin. “Remote work security is mission-critical for managing and securing digital identities for workforces and customers in this challenging environment.

“This global remote work study shines the light on the importance of ensuring the right people are accessing internal and customer data at all times. It underscores the importance of protecting employees and their entire organisations, aligning with privacy and security best practices around the world.”


Read more: World Password Day: Six pieces of advice from the cybersecurity industry