While On Vacation, Most People Put Convenience Over Security.
The (https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/need-watch-using-public-wi-fi/) study found that even while on vacation, a majority of people continue to browse the internet for at least an hour per day. It most cases, it's intentional; Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they went on vacation with the intention of staying connected.
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The availability of Wi-Fi hotspots all over, from airports to restaurants to hotels, can make it difficult for users to put down their devices and enjoy the view in front of them instead of the view from their screen.
McAfee also found that by staying connected throughout their travels, many users put themselves and their personal information at risk.
Thirty-one percent of participants in the study said they primarily connected to the internet using publicly available Wi-Fi, which can leave users exposed to malicious actors who have compromised the network.
Since many public hotspots do not offer password protection and other security protocols, it is relatively easy for a hacker to gain access to devices connected to the network or perform a man-in-the-middle attack that allows them to intercept data being sent to and from a user's device. It is also possible to create fake hotspots that spoof a public network in order to trick users to connecting and collecting their data and activity.
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Fifty-eight percent of users take the risk of connecting to a public network because they believe they know how to determine if the Wi-Fi is secure. However, less than half-just 49 percent-said they actually take the time to check the connection for any signs of suspicious activity.
One in five respondents said they don't even bother to check if the Wi-Fi is secure before connecting, and another 15 percent said they believe their personal information and data is actually more secure while traveling then while connected to a private network at home.
"Our devices are extensions of ourselves that we rely on for more tasks every day," Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee, said. "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."
McAfee's experts advise travelers to only connect to a public network when they are sure the connection is secure and when they are protected by a (http://www.ibtimes.com/what-are-vpns-how-do-you-use-them-do-you-need-virtual-private-network-2517614) Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts all of their activity to prevent it from being intercepted.
The security firm also suggests making sure all devices are up to date and have the latest security measures installed to protect against potential vulnerabilities.
Lastly, when possible, consider disconnecting altogether. While it can provide difficult to accomplish, and not many people head out on vacation expecting to ditch their devices entirely, McAfee found 81 percent of people who did so found their trip to be more enjoyable.