In Travel Tips on Wednesday 2nd Aug, 2017

How travellers are making themselves a target for hackers

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If you’re someone who uses Wi-Fi when travelling, you could be putting yourself at risk of hackers and scammers getting your personal details through unsafe internet practices.

A recent study by internet security software company Norton by Symantec showed travellers are engaging in at-risk behaviour, all to jump on the net.

The study found that more than half of consumers wouldn’t think twice about exchanging, sharing, or even doing something (such as hand over personal information) in order to get a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Further, more than 70 per cent of people said that access to a strong Wi-Fi signal was a deciding factor when choosing accommodation.

It’s clear it’s a very important part of modern life.

According to the executive vice president of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit, there is a deep disparity between what people believe is safe and what is actually safe when using public Wi-Fi.

“What someone thinks is private on their personal device can easily be accessed by cybercriminals through unsecure Wi-Fi Networks or even apps with privacy vulnerabilities,” he said.

How your secure information is stolen

  • Hackers can exploit security flaws in internet routers and then scan the data being shared between that router and devices
  • Fake Wi-Fi connections can lure people to join by naming them something similar to a popular place or attraction
  • If you’re using public Wi-Fi, that generally means you’re in a public place. It also means people could be watching over your shoulder to see what passwords you’re entering into your device.

Read more: The new tipping scam you need to know about

To avoid having your personal information stolen, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi as you can never be sure these networks will be safe. In addition, you can install virtual private network (VPN) software on your devices that creates a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the server.

If you do have to use public internet connections, make sure all of your apps are up to date (as updates often patch up security faults) and don’t log in to password protected sites such as internet banking, emails or social media when using public Wi-Fi.

More than half of survey respondents said the most important reason to stay connected was to use GPS maps to get around.

Travel at 60 recently revealed how to access maps apps without having internet access, and it involves downloading the maps before you need them. Read the full story here.

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