Travellers Beware: Don’t Let That Holiday Feeling Ruin Your Vacation
By Mark Gorrie, Senior Director and Security Expert – ANZ, NortonLifeLock
Aussies love a holiday, but a lax approach to online security and the temptation to use public Wi-Fi is allowing cyber criminals to ruin what should be a relaxing time.
Nothing ruins a good holiday like having cyber criminals compromise your identity or finances, yet Australians are letting their online security discipline slide when travelling overseas, placing them at significant risk of cybercrime victimisation. Jet-setting Aussies need to ensure they maintain their vigilance no matter where they are, because while a data attack is challenging at the best of times, it can be particularly troubling when you’re away from home.
According to Norton Australia’s Project 360 Data Report, travel is the number one situation in which Australians have used public Wi-Fi. This is problematic, as public Wi-Fi networks present significant risks, with cyber criminals often creating fake hotspots masquerading as legitimate networks to catch unsuspecting victims.
Despite this, more than half (59 per cent) of Australians claim to have used public Wi-Fi at hotels, hostels, airports, or when overseas. This behaviour isn’t restricted to international excursions either, as 52 per cent of Aussies confess to having used public Wi-Fi while out and about, whether visiting shopping malls, restaurants or bars, or the gym.
Australians are also overly willing to use public networks in established venues, revealing they are misinformed about the level of security these places can provide. Over four-fifths (84 per cent) claim they trust Wi-Fi from established venues to offer them security or protection, a figure that is significantly higher among Millennials (91 per cent).
There is also a worrying amount of misinformation around public Wi-Fi protocol and a clear need for education on the risks presented. For example, 83 per cent of Australians who have used public Wi-Fi agree they try to avoid security risks by limiting the time they are connected. This is a very poor strategy and one that is even more prevalent among Boomers (89 per cent).
While public Wi-Fi provides cheap and convenient internet access both overseas and locally, these behaviours present a significant risk to everyone’s good time, with four in five (81 per cent) Aussies agreeing they would feel personally violated if details of their bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial information were compromised as a result of public Wi-Fi use.
While financial attacks are the number one breach of concern for Australians, they would also feel violated if cyber criminals targeted their photo library, including intimate, personal, and family photos (75 per cent); their closest secrets (74 per cent); or details of their private chat and text conversations (74 per cent).
Despite these concerns, Australians continue to give cyber criminals openings for attack. Of those who have ever used public Wi-Fi, 65 per cent logged into their personal email account, over two-fifths (42 per cent) entered personally identifiable information, 39 per cent checked their bank account or accessed financial information – this is higher among Gen Z (47 per cent) and Millennials (50 per cent) – and 34 per cent used their credit or debit card to pay for something online.
Fortunately, there are measures Australians can take to protect themselves, whether embarking on an international jaunt, travelling interstate, or heading to a local restaurant or bar. Below are some best practices for protection against cyber criminals, whether they are looking to exploit public Wi-Fi or using another means to compromise their target’s data:
- Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
- Safeguard yourself: To help protect your devices and information from the latest online threats, use a robust multi-platform security solution, such as Norton Security Premium, and update it regularly.
- Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cybercriminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your computer for personal information, which is then sent to a remote computer where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
- Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
- Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks. Tools such as Norton Password Manager can help manage passwords, login information, addresses, and credit card details securely.
- Educate your child about online safety: Don’t just tell them to be careful online, show them how. Spend time with your child online and guide them through how to have a positive relationship with technology.
- Be cautious of over-sharing your child’s life on social media: You are creating your child’s digital identity. Ensure your social media posts present your child in a positive way.
To learn more about the real impact of cybercrime and how consumers can protect their privacy, identity, and digital information, visit here
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