The wide availability of Wi-Fi networks can make it difficult to unplug and disconnect on vacation, but if consumers take that extra step and unplug they can experience a more secure trip.
Despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most individuals still prefer to stay connected when on vacation. But when individuals put convenience over security, by using unsecured Wi-Fi access points that are easily hackable for example, they leave themselves open to the possibility of having their personal information compromised.
According to the results of a recent survey commissioned by McAfee:
- The most common reason individuals avoid unplugging was to be reachable by family and friends (62%). Only 16% of participants claimed that they stayed connected to be reachable by work.
- 38% of the polled individuals could not last a day without checking their work or personal email, and 37% could not resist the urge to post to social media while vacationing.
- 31% of participants primarily connected using publicly available Wi-Fi
- While 58% of participants claim they know how to determine whether their Wi-Fi is secure, only 49% take the time to check their connection.
- 20% don’t consider the security of their Wi-Fi connection, and for 32% it depends on how much they need to connect to determine if they will use the unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Remarkably, 15% of travelers considered their personal information and data to be more secure while traveling than it is at home.
- 77% of parents allow their children to use connected devices while traveling, and 73% of these parents claim to monitor their child’s usage.
- Parents tend to be more tech savvy than their non-parental counterparts and are more likely to know if their Wi-Fi connection is safe and secure to use (64% vs. 54%).
How to browse securely when away from home?
- Ensure that you are connecting securely while traveling and avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. If you absolutely must connect to a public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will keep your information private and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.
- Update your devices. The first line of defense for your devices is you, so it’s important to take a few precautions to stay safe. Make sure your devices’ operating system and applications are kept updated. Using old versions of software could leave you open to potential security vulnerabilities.
- Install cross-device security. After you’ve updated your devices with the latest software install comprehensive security.
- Use a device locating app. If you lose your connected device, especially on vacation, it can be difficult to recover. Location applications can help you find, lock and even erase your device’s data in the event of theft or loss.
“Our devices are extensions of ourselves that we rely on for more tasks every day,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “Individuals must exercise caution when using their devices on vacation. By taking basic security precautions and avoiding unnecessary risks, consumers can better protect personal information making their vacation more enjoyable knowing they are connecting with confidence.”