Consumers, including holiday makers and business travellers, conduct a lot of financial operations online when abroad, putting themselves at risk when they are not properly protected.
Research from Kaspersky Lab discovered that 48% of South African travellers 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 travelling: 26% of local respondents have experienced such a loss, and 8% globally have had a card compromised while in a foreign country.
In contrast, fewer respondents named device infection (13%) or online fraud (23%) as one of their top-three worries while travelling. That’s despite the fact that 15% has been a victim of cybercrime when abroad.
It’s not surprising that travellers are becoming victims of cybercrime: 77% of South African travellers connect to public WiFi anywhere when abroad and, using this potentially risky connection which can be intercepted and used by cybercriminals; and 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 WiFi, 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 while we do,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “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 WiFi 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 travellers to be more cyber savvy, think twice about their online activities abroad and put measures in place to protect their money from harm.”
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.