Wednesday, 12 May 2021 10:47

Aussies aware of travel precautions, but not keen with digital safety: report

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McAfee’s new study reveals that almost three in four Australians (72%) are planning to travel for leisure with 12% flying internationally. However, the study adds that Australians are not cautious with their digital safety.

Aussies are approaching their personal protection and taking safety precaution more seriously as domestic travel booms and international travel slowly opens up in 2021, according to a McAfee study 2021 Consumer Security Mindset: Travel Edition.

According to the study, almost three in four (72%) of Aussies plan to travel for leisure this year, with 12% doing so internationally. Most surprisingly, more than half (54%) of respondents’ travel preferences have shifted in the wake of Covid-19, with hotels and motels ranking as the most preferred accommodations (46%), followed by staying with family or friends (34%).

However, the study warned, they are not properly translating that same increased cautiousness into their digital safety.

Judith Bitterli, senior vice president of McAfee consumer marketing, notes: “With domestic and even some international travel back on the cards, we must remember just how important maintaining our digital wellness and security is outside the home.”

She adds: “Whether people are at home or away, there will be online banking to do, chances to shop online, and moments to stream a few shows while at the airport or on the road. This simple mindset shift goes a long way in protecting our personal information.”

Discrepancy between consumers sentiments and behaviours
There is a major discrepancy between consumers’ sentiments and behaviours, as well as security best practices while home and away.

Notably, 71% of Aussie consumers connect to devices when visiting a home that isn’t their own, potentially making them more vulnerable to risks when travelling.

Other key findings reveal, despite consumers being aware of the cyber risks associated with their travels, their behaviours remain negligent:

· While 65% of Aussie consumers report they are more digitally connected since the start of Covid, roughly half have implemented additional levels of security protection

· Less than half (48%) of consumers check if a network is secure before connecting and 45% report that they do not take the same online security measures while on holiday versus at home.

· Nearly half (46%) say hotels or motels are their top most preferred accommodations—despite 29% expecting the highest risk when connecting to hotel Wi-Fi

· While on the go, nearly half (43%) admit to connecting to public Wi-Fi, although 67% perceive Wi-Fi networks as the most vulnerable to cyber threats

Maintaining your digital wellness while on vacation
With rising connectivity and device adoption continuing in 2021, consumers must understand the cyber risks of increased digital touchpoints, and actively maintain their digital wellness throughout their travel journey.

McAfee suggests how consumers can digitally protect themselves while on vacation:

· Connect with caution. Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi while on vacation and make sure the Wi-Fi is secure and attached to a trusted source. Ensure that you don’t conduct any financial transactions or share any personal details while on public Wi-Fi.

· Consider a holistic security solution. Understand what tools are available to you in order to give you peace of mind that your identity and personal information across all devices are safeguarded this travel season.

· Update your software. Before you travel, check for any software updates on your devices. Updates often fix security bugs and seal up cracks in the system.

· Keep devices protected and close. Distracted vacationers are the perfect target for thieves looking to steal devices—be it a phone, laptop or tablet. Ensure accounts have multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users in case the device gets in the wrong hands.


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Kenn Anthony Mendoza

Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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