Brits 'far more vulnerable' to cybercrime when travelling

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As restrictions finally ease on taking foreign holidays, security experts have warned that British users are far more likely to be affected by cybercrime such as malware or identity theft scams.

A report from McAfee has found that over half of Brits appear to ‘switch off’ concerns around online security when travelling, with many taking more risks than they would at home.

And with many hoping to finally take an overseas holiday at some point this year after months of lockdown, there are fears that many users could be caught out.

Holidays security risk

McAfee's report found that most holidayers regard being able to stay connected of paramount importance when away, with social media updates and posts a pressing concern for many.

This has led many users to connect to potentially risky devices or networks when travelling, opening up the possibility of attack. Overall, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) said they have connected to devices when visiting a home that isn’t their own, with laptops/computers (34%), a smart TV (38%), streaming devices (30%), Bluetooth speakers (22%) and gaming systems (17%) the most popular connections.

Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks is another potentially dangerous activity, with a myriad of security flaws and issues occuring from malicious or fraudulent actors.

Half of Brits (50%) say they often connect to public Wi-Fi when travelling, while a further 48% claim to connect to a network at a rental property or friend's house. This is despite , almost half (44%) never checking if a network is secure before connecting. and less than half (45%) taking the same online security measures when on-the-move as they would at home.

“As many Brits look forward to a slightly more normal summer this year, and with staycations proving a popular choice for this year’s travel season, it is an opportunity for consumers to remember just how important maintaining your digital wellness and online security is outside the home,” said Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee Fellow. 

“Whether at home or away, there will still be many activities Brits will be looking to conduct online. From online banking to shopping, or streaming your favourite TV show when on-the-go, a simple mindset shift to remember the importance of connecting safely will go a long way to protecting your personal information.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.