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Traveling? Why You Should Avoid Public Wi-Fi

A 2017 nationwide survey of nearly 2,000 respondents shows that 55 percent of the survey participants said the need to use personal devices while on vacation outweighs cybersecurity risks.

Many vacationers continue to use their smartphones and other devices frequently. Half of respondents said they check their devices at least once an hour.

Although half of those surveyed said they worry about cybersecurity risks while on vacation, most do not take sufficient measures to protect their data. Fifty-four percent lock their devices while not in use, but only 40 percent hide devices when away; only 39 percent update their anti-virus software; and only 24 percent change their passwords.

Because vacationers often let their guard down, they are more vulnerable to cybercrime. "Survey Finds the Need to Use Personal Devices on Vacation Outweighs Cybersecurity Concerns," hotelnewsresource.com (Jul. 5, 2017).


Commentary

Many people use their mobile devices for business and/or personal use while we are on vacation, but it is important to remember that public Wi-Fi connections present a risk.

Business travelers and vacationers should avoid public Wi-Fi connections that are insecure and unencrypted. Data transmitted over such connections is vulnerable to theft.

If you must use Wi-Fi while away from the office, choose a trusted connection that requires a Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) password.

To further protect your devices when using Wi-Fi away from home, equip them with anti-virus software and firewalls. Keep software and applications updated to reduce your risk of cybercrime.

If you notice strange activity on your device while using public Wi-Fi—for example, your device suddenly slows down or you receive pop-ups or warnings from your anti-virus software—immediately disconnect from the internet.

Finally, your opinion is important to us. Please complete the opinion survey:

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