More than one out of three Indians — 36 per cent — share personal data or sensitive information using public Wi-Fi while travelling which can lead to data stealing, a study by Intel Security revealed on Tuesday. The Â‘Digital Detox: Unplugging on Vacation’ study was conducted across 14 countries (including India) with 14,000 people to understand consumer behaviour when travelling. With 36 per cent, India leads the pack when it comes to sharing information online.
“Through this survey, we wanted to raise awareness about the need to adopt safe digital habits and share security measures to prevent personal information from being compromised while travelling,” said Venkat Krishnapur, Head, R&D Operations, Intel Security’s India Development Centre, in a statement. Nearly 37 per cent of Indians could not last a day on vacation without checking social media. This was second only to Japan (45 per cent) when compared globally.
Majority of Indians (54 per cent) were not willing to leave their smartphone at home while on vacation. “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,” the findings showed. Connecting to unprotected Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices can expose personal information to a cybercriminal. One 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 Â‘remembered’ wireless networks, like Â‘cafewifi,’” the study noted. Whether it’s your location or selfie, criminals are more able to monitor your whereabouts via social activity and take advantage of you when you have the weakest protection. The pervasive use of technology in our day-to-day lives and popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) ties our personal and work lives more closely than ever before — especially on vacation.
“This can puts travellers at risk as they share their personal/confidential information online,” the study noted.