Technology

Travellers engaging in risky (Wi-Fi) business

More and more Aussies are at risk of being hacked, particularly while travelling, because of their unsafe Wi-Fi practices.

According to a Wi-Fi Risk Report done by Norton by Symantec, 66 per cent of Aussies are acting unsafely when connecting to public Wi-Fi – and most of them believe their private info is safe.

Unfortunately this is rarely the case – over half of Aussies aren’t using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi, putting them at even further risk. A VPN provides a secure tunnel, encrypting and protecting data sent and received between your phone and the Internet.

Confused? You aren’t alone: many users have no idea whether they’re using a secure public Wi-Fi network or not.

“There is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using public Wi-Fi versus the reality,” said Mark Gorrie, Director of ANZ Norton Business Unit.

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

According to the report, 83 per cent of Aussies have used a public Wi-Fi network to log into personal email accounts, check bank balances and share photos and videos – all very private information that cybercriminals can easily access.

What are Aussies concerned about most?

Forget bank details, Aussies are most embarrassed by their personal photos and conversations.

Forty-three per cent of the survey participants would be most angry if a hacker stole their photos, 42 per cent most value their private conversations, and only 39 per cent place their bank details as the most important.

However, less than half of Aussies would care if their personal information was posted publically online.

19 per cent would be embarrassed if it were their closest secrets; 14 per cent in the case of intimate and personal photos; and 15 per cent if it were their browser history.

The disclosure of financial information would be horrifying to over half (51 per cent) of Aussies, followed by closest secrets (40 per cent); children’s location and academic details (30 per cent); and online dating profile and relationship status (17 per cent).

Wi-Fi is most important (and dangerous) to travelling Aussies:

Whilst experts have warned that smartphones and the use of technology is limiting the capacity to switch off on holidays, Aussies are still unable to resist a good Wi-Fi connection when travelling, with over 50 per cent saying it was one of the deciding factors in choosing a hotel.

Similarly, 29 per cent choose their airline based on Wi-Fi, and 28 per cent pick a transport hub based on being able to get online.

How can Aussies protect themselves?

The reports findings show that whilst we are aware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi, especially whilst overseas, many of us aren’t taking precautionary measures or updating our phone security to protect personal data.

Aussies can use security software like a VPN to protect their data, as well as look for the HTTPS sign before websites. You can tell if a website is secure if it has “https” in its URL and has a small lock symbol next to it.

Lastly, think twice before entering any type of personal information – from passwords, to financial details and photos – over public Wi-Fi networks.

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