Despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most individuals prefer to stay connected. Fifty-two percent of U.S. respondents indicated that they spend at least an hour a day using their connected devices to check email, text and post to social media while on vacation, according to McAfee.
The summer travel season can be a lot of fun for everyone, including cybercriminals who may try to exploit travelers who are in unfamiliar settings. 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.
“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.”
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. While many individuals did not intend to unplug while traveling, those that did (43%) reported a much more enjoyable experience (81%).
Carefree Wi-Fi usage
- Thirty-one percent of participants primarily connected using publicly available Wi-Fi leaving them open to potential security risks.
- 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.
- Twenty percent 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.
Tips to help secure your personal information and devices
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), which 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. A solution like McAfee LiveSafe can help your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.
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.