Londoners, like the rest of us, apparently love their Internet – I mean really love it. Twenty eight percent of them said losing Internet access would be more distressing than being without water, heat, television or their washing machine.

This from a survey of 1,000 people conducted on the streets of London in late March by the folks behind Infosecurity Europe 2012, the security event taking place in London April 24-26. The security angle to the survey: 9% of respondents said they would access unprotected Wi-Fi rather than go without Internet and 4% would hack into secured Wi-Fi to get back online, showing that people are so obsessed with the Internet they will take ill-advised and even criminal actions.

Thankfully, it’s a distinct minority that fall into that category. But still, think about that stat – nearly one in 10 would throw security concerns out the window if it meant the difference between getting online and not checking email, Facebook and the like. These are your employees we’re talking about and in the age of bring your own device, it’s likely that many of them are putting corporate data at risk with such behavior.

But let’s get back to the fun stuff.

Asked how long they could cope without Internet access at home, 72% said they couldn’t cope for more than “a few days.”  And 17% of those said they couldn’t cope at all – they just couldn’t cope!

I’m trying to picture this. Maybe there’s a big power outage or some such causing the Internet to fail and nearly 1 in 5 Londoners are running around their flats screaming, “I can’t cope! I can’t cope!”

And what would they do in such a situation to get their Internet fix? Most would do perfectly reasonable things, including going to a coffee shop (31%), a neighbor’s place (26%) or staying at work (17%).  Then we have the 9% who would go with unprotected Wi-Fi and the desperate 4% who would hack into a protected connection.

But a fair number of respondents, 22%, admitted that when they use Wi-Fi, they don’t know whether the connection is secure or not. Females are far more like to be guilty here, at 31% vs. 16% for males. On the other hand, 28% of males don’t care whether their Wi-Fi connection is secure, vs. 12% of females (22% overall). Wonderful.

Sounds to me like a lot of these folks, and certainly the security pros at the companies they work for, may want to attend that Infosecurity Europe 2012 conference. And my guess is none of these findings are specific to Londoners.

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