The basic errors costing holidaymakers – and how to avoid making the same mistakes.

When it comes to things that put us in a good mood, holidays are hard to beat. From a fortnight on the beach to a weekend exploring a new city, our mindsets seem to change the moment we set off. Our worries melt away, our spirits soar – and we become so much more carefree.

Now without wishing to ruin the positive vibes, did you know that research commissioned by cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Lab reveals that it could be precisely for these reasons that international travellers are so susceptible to cybercrime? In the research – which surveyed more than 11,000 travellers across five continents and 23 countries – respondents were quizzed about their attitudes towards using their devices and connecting to the internet whilst abroad.

Of all the results gleaned from the survey, perhaps the most telling one – certainly in so much that it establishes a reoccurring theme – is that fifty percent of people are online even before they leave the airport, revealing a connect-at-all-costs attitude that’s just begging for trouble.

Indeed, further results show that when we travel we hardly give a second thought to how we connect, where we connect or what kind of shady character might be monitoring our every move. In other words, the research shows that our desire to be connected no matter what the consequences – no doubt fuelled by that extra swagger we discover on holiday – is putting our personal data at risk and threatening our money, identities and more.

Almost one in five (18%) have been victims of cybercrime while traveling, with one in ten (9%) hit while shopping and 6% when banking online. 7% were infected by malware from an email.

Other worrying findings include:

  • Travellers are more likely to be robbed of their data than fall victim to pickpockets or muggers.
  • One in five people have been hit by cybercrime while abroad.
  • Three in four people connect to risky free public Wi-Fi when travelling – in places like airports, hotels and restaurants.
  • Almost half of travellers use Wi-Fi for shopping or banking.
  • Half of people rely on internet habits from their homes to stay safe while browsing abroad.
  • Half of people say they forget their smartphones and tablets are packed with highly personal information.

The brutal truth is that away from home – and away from familiar communications networks – this lack of regard for network security, and blasé attitude towards digital security, plays straight into the hands of the cybercriminals, who couldn’t ask for easier pickings.

So what’s the answer? Well as you’ve more than likely guessed by now, a lot of it comes down to common sense. Online behaviour that isn’t safe at home, certainly isn’t safe overseas. And just because you’re on holiday and you’ve got a spring in your step, it doesn’t mean you should take risks you wouldn’t normally consider.

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