Most users with Wi-Fi in their homes and businesses get an A for knowing what measure they should take in order to protect themselves when using Wi-Fi devices, but get an “F” when it comes to actually putting those measures in practice, according to a new report from the Wi-Fi Alliance and Wakefield Research.

97 percent of users surveyed are confident that the data on their devices and networks is “safe and secure.” Most of those users have taken basic steps to ensure the privacy and security of their wireless networks by enabling some security protection on routers or access points. However in practice, users are not enabling the best security methods for wireless networks, although they are aware of what they should be doing in theory. Some of the highlights:

  • 85 percent of those surveyed know they should disable automatic sharing of Wi-Fi devices but only 62 percent of those users have actually disabled the feature.
  • Only 18 percent use VPN (Virtual Private Network) software when connected to a public hotspot.
  • Respondents who have been hit with a computer virus are no more likely to have better Wi-Fi security habits than those who have not.
  • Those who proclaim themselves “tech-savvy” were found to not have any better Wi-Fi security protection implemented than those less comfortable with technology.

Despite such sloppy security practices, two out of three surveyed realize that they are ultimately responsible for their own data security.

The Wi-Fi Alliance offers these tips for keeping wireless networks and data safe:

  • Enable WPA2 security.
  • Look for products with Wi-Fi Protected Setup for simple steps to enable strong security.
  • Use strong passwords when securing devices and networks.
  • Use only trusted public hotspots and turn off automatic sharing.