Incident Response, TDR

Study: Majority of U.S. travelers don’t take precautions when using public Wi-Fi

Even though U.S. travelers feel their personal information is at risk when using public Wi-Fi, they connect anyway and do not take the right steps to protect themselves, according to a recent study.

Commissioned by Mountain View, Calif.-based security software company AnchorFree and conducted by travel research firm PhoCusWright, the “PhoCusWright Traveler Technology Survey 2013” questioned 2,203 American travelers that have taken at least one leisure trip of more than 75 miles in the last 12 months.

Although the results indicate that four out of five respondents felt their personal information was not safe when on a public Wi-Fi network, nearly 84 percent do not take action to ensure their data is secure, according to the study, which establishes that eight out of ten travelers use public Wi-Fi on their trips.

When asked what web surfing behaviors are most concerning, visiting financial or banking websites, making online purchases that require their card data, and making purchases through an account that has their stored data ranked amongst the highest.

Not all travelers are clueless to the security risks posed when using public Wi-Fi.

About 54 percent of respondents indicated that they stay away from engaging in activities involving their personal information, although only one in five avoid using public Wi-Fi because they believe the risks to their personal information is too high.

According to the survey, the increased use of mobile devices has had a major affect on unsecured hotspot connections. Travelers with smartphones and tablets are more likely than laptop users to connect to the public Wi-Fi at tourist attractions, restaurants, and airports.

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