In preparation for summer travel season, Intel Security conducted a study, “Digital Detox: Unplugging on Summer Vacation,” to better understand the ways consumers stay digitally connected while traveling and ways they may unknowingly be putting their personal identity and devices at risk. Roughly 65 percent of U.S. respondents define being unplugged as having no internet usage at all, while half said being unplugged means they did not make any phone calls. The survey challenges a misconception in society that millennials would be the least likely to leave their devices behind on vacation – 49 percent of U.S. millennials actually admitted that they were willing to unplug on vacation, while only 37 percent of those respondents between 40-50 years of age would do so.
Summer vacation is full of distraction and opportunity, and savvy criminals have learned how to capitalize on these moments. Travelers can be targets for cybercriminals who count on human and device vulnerabilities to provide them with a point of access to consumers’ data and devices. They can gain access to sensitive information via unsecured smartphones, laptops and even wearables, while also collecting data from social channels.
“Consumers rely on technology to stay connected to their physical and digital worlds – whether at work, home or on vacation,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “People are often quick to use devices on vacation to access sensitive information without considering the potential risk. As a result, it’s crucial to impart safe digital habits to help consumers stay more secure when traveling.”
Consumers need to be vigilant and take precautionary security measures to prevent their personal information from being lost or stolen while on the road. Despite many respondents’ lack of success with unplugging, those who were able to unplug reaped major benefits.
- More than half (55 percent) of U.S. participants who intended to unplug from their digital devices on vacation were unable to do so.
- Sixty-five percent of U.S. survey participants claimed their vacation was more enjoyable after unplugging. They felt less stress and were able to better absorb their surroundings.
- Roughly 88 percent of Americans admitted it did not stress them out to be unplugged from work and life back at home. And 51 percent of those who unplugged reported they connected better with travel partners because of unplugging.
- American men are more willing to leave their phone at home while going on vacation. Roughly 47 percent of men said they would leave their phones behind, while only 37 percent of women said that they would.
- In an always-on world, it’s hard for people to unplug. In fact, 68 percent of U.S. participants reported checking their personal and work email at least once a day, every day while on vacation.
- Americans are the least successful at abstaining from work emails (49 percent) while on vacation compared to Singaporeans (61 percent), Canadians (60 percent), Germans (59 percent), Mexicans (59 percent), the French (56 percent), the Dutch (54 percent), Brazilians (53 percent), and Spaniards (52 percent).
Tips to Minimize Your Travel Security Risks:
- Create Social Walls: We know how boring waiting in airports can be and oftentimes this boredom can lead to posting updates from your mobile device. Whether it’s your location or that selfie where your hair looks just right, criminals are more able to monitor your whereabouts via social activity and take advantage of you when you have the weakest protection.
- Be Careful When You Share: We love to share our experiences with friends and family via social media, but it’s important to not indicate publicly where or when you’ll be taking that relaxing vacation. Wait until you return home before posting all about it; otherwise, you could leave yourself open to would-be thieves who want to know when your home will be vacant.
- Limit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Use: Data can be expensive, but switching on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when out and about can be a recipe for disaster. Connecting to unprotected Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices can expose your personal information to a cybercriminal. You should be especially careful when exchanging payment information. With this in mind, make sure to update your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi history by removing previously “remembered” wireless networks, like “cafewifi.”
- Check and Monitor Your Accounts: Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your bank account history. If you aren’t meticulous about monitoring your activity, a criminal could have access to your accounts for quite some time before you are aware.
- Blog post from Gary Davis: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/unplugging-survey-2016
- Join the conversation on social media with #unplugging
- Visit the Intel Security Facebook page at facebook.com/intelsecurity and McAfee Security Advice Center for information on the latest consumer threats and online safety tips.
- Intel Security conducted a study to better understand consumers’ digital behaviors while traveling.
- Survey revealed 49 percent of millennials are more willing to leave their smartphone at home while on vacation than those in their 40s and 50s.
- Most vacationers will remain connected while traveling, and roughly 55 percent of respondents who planned to disconnect were unable to do so.