Almost one-third Indians admitted that they would want to completely unplug on a vacation if not for work obligations.
The end of the year travel season can be a lot of fun for everyone, including cybercriminals who may try to exploit travellers who are in unfamiliar settings. When individuals put convenience over security, by using unsecured Wi-Fi access points, they leave themselves open to the possibility of having their personal information compromised.
A recent study conducted by McAfee, called “Digital Detox: Unwind, Relax and Unplug,” was done to understand the behaviour and attitudes of consumers when on vacation, and how digital habits could be putting their personal information at risk. The survey found that despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most individuals prefer to stay connected. More than half of the Indians on holiday (60 per cent) 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.
Venkat Krishnapur, VP of Engineering and Managing Director at McAfee says, “Our study reveals, almost three in four Indians rely on unsecured Wi-Fi during their vacations to connect with family, friends, work and social media, increasing their exposure to prying cybercriminals. To avoid being compromised, it becomes even more important for travelers to exercise caution and rely on technology to stay safe online across all devices.”
Can’t Put the Device Down:
a) More than half (52 per cent) Indians could not last a day without checking their work or personal email. More than a quarter (29 per cent) admitted to checking their email consistently throughout the day.
b) One in two Indians (51 per cent) could not resist the urge to post to social media while vacationing.
c) More than half of the Indians (57 per cent) have felt anxiety over being unplugged
d) Laptops were the most common device left behind (72 per cent), but only 40 per cent would be willing to leave their smartphone behind.
e) The most common reason individuals avoid unplugging was to be reachable by family and friends (86 per cent).
Carefree Wi-Fi usage
a) 74 per cent of participants primarily connected using publicly available Wi-Fi leaving them open to potential security risks.
b) Remarkably, 34 per cent of travellers considered their personal information and data to be more secure while travelling than it is at home.
Work, work, work:
a) 41 per cent of Indians claimed that they stayed connected to be reachable by work, but if work were not a factor 67 per cent would prefer to stay unplugged.
65 per cent of individuals in their 20s and 30s would prefer to completely unplug on vacation compared with almost half of individuals in their 40s (53 per cent).
Mom and dad know best:
a) Most parents think devices should take a backseat on vacation with 65 per cent planning to unplug compared with 57 per cent of individuals without children. Parents were only slightly more successful at abstaining from tech with 80 per cent declaring success compared with 74 per cent of people without children.
b) 68 per cent of Indian parents allow their children to use connected devices while travelling.
c) 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 (75 per cent vs 64 per cent).
Tips to help secure your personal information and devices:
a) Browse securely when away from home. Ensure that you are connecting securely while travelling 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) like McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN will keep your information private and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.
b) Update your devices. The first line of defence 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.
c) Install cross-device security. After you’ve updated your devices with the latest software install comprehensive security. A solution like McAfee Total Protection can help your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.
d) 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.