As holiday season begins, many are looking forward to spending some much needed time away from home. Others will be on vacations abroad and spending money is inevitable. Travelers need to be wary of online financial operations.
According to research from Kaspersky Lab, consumers – including holiday makers and business travelers, conduct a lot of financial operations online when abroad, putting themselves at risk when they are not properly protected.
The research discovered that 48% of South African travelers believe losing money is one of the top-three threats they may face abroad, and credit card compromise is considered to be a top-three threat by 39% of local users. These concerns are well-founded – the research also highlighted that there is a real danger when it comes to losing money when traveling: 26% of local respondents have experienced such a loss, and 8% globally have had a card compromised whilst in a foreign country.
In contrast, fewer respondents named device infection (13%) or online fraud (23%) as one of their top-three worries whilst traveling. That’s despite the fact that 15% has been a victim of cybercrime when abroad.
It’s not surprising that travelers are becoming victims of cybercrime. 77% of South African travelers connect to public Wi-Fi anywhere when abroad and, using this potentially risky connection which can be intercepted and used by cybercriminals, 72% of consumers bank online and 63% shop online. Without the appropriate protection in place, this behaviour is exposing users – and their money – to unnecessary danger, but only 42% of local users apply a secure connection (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi, while 10% express that they do nothing at all to stay protected.
“In today’s connected world, we are able to travel easily, for work or pleasure, and stay connected whilst we do. This ability brings with it amazing and exciting opportunities, but also exposes us to dangers if we are not careful. It’s all too easy to connect via potentially insecure Wi-Fi abroad then continue our normal habits of banking and shopping online, without stopping to think about the consequences of what we are doing. As we approach the holiday season, we urge travelers to be more cyber savvy, think twice about their online activities abroad and put measures in place to protect their money from harm,” says David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
To prevent the loss of money, users should behave safely when they are abroad. They should never lose sight of their credit cards, only connect to the Internet via a secure VPN connection, and use a robust security feature, such as Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Money to protect themselves. Available in Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security, Safe Money allows users to enter financial information and carry out transactions with any bank or e-commerce site in a secure manner.