It sounds pretty ideal. You get free WiFi whilst someone else watches your children for a few hours, brilliant! Is this in a play centre perhaps or a theme park maybe? Unfortunately not.

A rather interesting study was carried out in London recently. F-Secure offered people use of free WiFi, except it wasn’t quite free. The Ts and Cs clearly stated that this offering was in exchange for assigning the first born child to the WiFi providers ‘for all of eternity’.

The results

Cyber Security Research Institute, who initiated the research backed by European law enforcement agency Europol, set up the WiFi hotspot in June. They aimed to highlight the public’s lack of awareness around serious security issues with unsecured Wi-Fi usage, and they seem to have succeeded. This extremely concerning (albeit slightly amusing) research found that six people actually signed up for the WiFi. We hope this was unwittingly! Actually 33 people signed in to the network but it seems not all were willing to give up their first born (or favourite pet if no kids were available). However, it does highlight that Ts and Cs are not always carefully read.

The report concluded that there needs to be much more education around the use of public WiFi, especially hotspots that are of unknown origin. Like our last Purple WiFi survey results, the six people who signed up to the WiFi in this F-Secure study show that there is still a lack of knowledge around WiFi security.

F-Secure’s Sean Sullivan advises that similarly to people not using unsecured networks at home, they shouldn’t use them in public either.

Terms and conditions that are easy to read

One possible solution could be to create a short version of terms and conditions that are quick to read and easy to understand.

For example, here at Purple WiFi we have decided to try to lead the way and we have created a five point summary of our customer facing Ts and Cs, that people will have time to read, understand and digest.

Perhaps this could be the way forward for companies?

The moral of the story

You may not have time to read the Ts and Cs of each and every WiFi connection you access – but you can make sure it is a trusted secure provider that uses encryption methods as an extra layer of security.

See how Purple WiFi advises businesses on how they can ensure they offer their customers a secure network for their public WiFi in our blog: How do you tell if the public WiFi on offer is secure or not secure?