Two-thirds of people filing taxes online do so using unsecured Wi-Fi

Tax day in the United States is fast approaching: Under most circumstances, everyone must file their tax forms no later than April 15th. It's definitely not a fun process to go through, but nearly 50% of citizens file their tax returns online, a number that's sure to quickly grow as time goes on.

Your tax forms contain a lot of confidential data about your life, so security is an important facet if you're filing online. Unfortunately, the same report indicates that 65% of people who file online are doing so using an open Wi-Fi connection, meaning they're opening themselves up to potential attacks. Looking at TaxAct as an example, the login page does not automatically redirect to an HTTPS page. This gives a bad guy at the coffee shop or library a chance to hijack your session and provide their own SSL certificate in order to see all of your data. The rogue cert would provide an error, but most users will probably click "accept" anyway.

Overall, this is an industry problem. Companies push ease of use over security because the old adage of "as security increases usability decreases" still holds true today. Users are told not to click on certain links and are getting better at identifying phishing emails, but most people don't think about or understand network security. Unfortunately, it's a difficult problem to solve and will require both education on the topic, as well as people eschewing some of the ease of use they've become accustomed to.

Source: Protect Your Bubble via SC Magazine | Open Wi-Fi picture courtesy of Shutterstock

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