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Too many broadband users are putting their personal and confidential information at risk when using public Wi-Fi networks, it has been claimed.

According to research conducted by UK2 and YouGov, fewer than half of those who use public wireless broadband networks check whether the network is encrypted.

The report explained that Wi-Fi hotspots are often unsecured connections that could leave personal data exposed, or increase the online threats faced by end users.

Some 45 per cent of Wi-Fi users could be putting their passwords and data at risk by using public Wi-Fi to log-in to email, the study revealed.

In addition, 37 per cent of survey respondents use public Wi-Fi to access Facebook, and 14 per cent do so for the purposes of online banking.

UK2's Russell Foster commented that users are often prioritising convenience over sensible security precautions.

"The amount of personal data transmitted from mobile devices is growing, making them increasingly attractive targets for cyber criminals," he said.

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