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How to stay cyber safe while travelling

When you’re travelling with kids, connected devices can be a life saver. YouTube for entertainment. A quick check of your bank account. Jumping online to make a reservation or buy tickets for an activity while on the go.

For entertaining the kids during a long road trip, or having a way to contact or keep track of your teens as they explore the holiday spot, having internet connectivity can make for a more enjoyable trip. But do you know how to keep the family cyber safe while you’re on holiday?

2 kids on their ipads in the back of a car
Technology is great for keeping the kids entertained while travelling. Credit: Shutterstock

Internet security software provider McAfee Corp. has recently released the findings from its 2021 Consumer Security Mindset: Travel Edition report. The report reveals how Aussies approach their online protection as domestic travel booms, and international travel slowly opens up in 2021. 

McAfee 2021 Consumer Security Mindset: Travel Edition Report findings

The study shows that 71% of Aussie consumers connect to devices when visiting a home that isn’t their own. This connection potentially makes them more vulnerable to risks while travelling.  Also, despite being aware of cyber risks associated with travel, less than half (48%) of consumers check if a network is secure before connecting. And 45% report that they do not take the same online security measures while on holiday versus at home. 

Digital crime by an anonymous hacker
“62% of Aussies perceive Wi-Fi networks as the most vulnerable to cyber threats.”
McAfee 2021 Consumer Security Mindset: Travel Edition

Despite Aussies being aware of cyber threats associated with travel, they don’t change their behaviour, which may put their family in danger. In fact, 62% of Aussies perceive Wi-Fi networks as the most vulnerable to cyber threats, yet 44% still admit to connecting to public Wi-Fi. And while nearly half (46%) say hotels or motels are their top most preferred accommodations, 29% expect the highest risk when connecting to hotel Wi-Fi.

The cyber security risks are even greater if you’re travelling with kids. Mostly because you’ll likely have more devices connecting to wifi and other networks.

Read more: How to survive a road trip with kids

Simply connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi so your kids can play games on a rainy day or send holiday snaps to their close friends can make it that much easier for cybercriminals to find and compromise their devices, and wreak havoc on the family’s online accounts.

“With domestic and even some international travel back on the cards, we must remember just how important maintaining our digital wellness and security is outside the home. Whether people are at home or away, there will be online banking to do, chances to shop online, and moments to stream a few shows while at the airport or on the road. This simple mindset shift goes a long way in protecting our personal information.” 

Judith Bitterli, Senior Vice President of McAfee Consumer Marketing

So if you’re packing the family tablet, or your teens are bringing their mobile phones, make sure you take the right precautions to keep your family cyber safe while travelling.

Tips for keeping your family safe when connecting to Wi-Fi while travelling

Children playing computer and smartphone learning how to keep the family safe while travelling.
Teach the kids how to stay cyber safe while travelling. Credit: Shutterstock

McAfee have shared four tips for how families can stay cyber safe while travelling. 

  1. Connect with caution.
    Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi while on holiday. Make sure the Wi-Fi is secure and attached to a trusted source. Ensure that you don’t conduct any financial transactions or share any personal details while on public Wi-Fi.  
  2. Consider a holistic security solution. 
    Understand what tools are available to you in order to give you peace of mind that your identity and personal information across all of devices are safeguarded. 
  3. Update your software. 
    Before you travel, check for any software updates on your devices. Updates often fix security bugs and seal up cracks in the system. 
  4. Keep devices protected and close. 
    Distracted people are the perfect target for thieves looking to steal devices — be it a phone, laptop or tablet. Ensure accounts have multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users in case the device gets in the wrong hands. 

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