University of Phoenix today released the results of its summer travel cybersecurity survey, which found that while half of registered voters worry about cybersecurity risks while on vacation, 55 percent feel that the need to use personal devices outweighs those risks.
“Vacations are often a time when we let our guard down, which can leave us vulnerable to hackers who want to steal personal information,” said Dr. Kirsten Hoyt, academic dean, College of Information Systems & Technology at University of Phoenix. “Whether you are in another country or down the street, it is important for people to take precautionary measures when travelling this summer.”
Summer vacation is often seen as a time to disconnect, yet three out of four respondents say they bring their smartphone with them, and half check their devices at least once an hour. Despite using their devices often, very few take measures to prevent hackers from potentially accessing personal information: 54 percent lock devices when not in use, but less than half take other precautions, such as hiding devices when away (40 percent), updating antivirus software (39 percent) or changing passwords (24 percent).
According to the survey, stolen bank information is the top concern for registered voters while travelling, selected by more than half of respondents. Other major concerns include losing devices (48 percent) and contracting viruses on devices (44 percent), while less than a third are concerned about hacked email or social media accounts. Some people are taking steps to be more secure: 86 percent of those surveyed say they update security settings if hacked.
Other findings from the survey include:
Half of respondents say using devices on vacation is as safe as at home.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents feel more secure using their phone’s hotspot versus public Wi-Fi.
More than half of respondents check email or social media while on vacation.
Forty-one percent of respondents post photos from trips on social media accounts while away from home.
“There are myriad ways your personal information can be compromised while you’re away from home; the best method to prevent it is to be aware of how you can be hacked and take steps to avoid that,” Dr. Hoyt said. “Vacations should be relaxing and fun, but in today’s world of connected devices, we always have to be alert.”