Half of security pros would rather walk barefoot in a public restroom than use public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is rife with security risks, and cybersecurity professionals aren't taking any chances, according to a Lastline report.

5 tips for keeping your data safe while traveling Doing things like connecting to public Wi-Fi networks and using public charging stations can compromise your data. Here's how to stay safe.

Nearly half (45%) of security professionals said they'd prefer walking barefoot in a public restroom than connecting to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, according to a Lastline report released on Thursday.

SEE: Tips for choosing the best VPN for your needs (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The report surveyed 136 security professionals at this year's RSA Conference to determine their cybersecurity concerns around public Wi-Fi connections. Knowing how difficult public Wi-Fi networks are to secure, respondents said they were not confident in making such connections, the report found.

Concerns surrounding public Wi-Fi networks are not new, but have increased as more people are working on the go. The spike in remote workers has posed a huge security threat for companies, as many of these employees work on public networks at coffee shops, libraries, or public work spaces. Even executives traveling for a business conference pose risks, accessing work while in transit.

While public Wi-Fi networks are dangerous, security pros typically practice habits to stay secure in other ways. Nearly 70% of respondents said their laptop webcams are covered, and 44% regularly implement two-factor authentication on all of their devices, the report found.

SEE: Wi-Fi 6: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Cybersecurity is a prominent issue to IT pros, with 92% of respondents citing cybersecurity as a bigger threat to the US than border security, the report added. Respondents have a low level of trust in the government for prioritizing nation-wide cybersecurity, according to the report.

"This survey surfaced many of the fears that we all suspected were out there. The threats to our information assets and privacy are more profound than ever and the situation is getting worse, not better," John DiLullo, Lastline CEO, said in a press release.

For advice on how to best protect yourself on public Wi-Fi, check out this article from our sister site ZDNet.

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.