82% travellers victims of cyber crime while shopping online abroad

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 17, 2018


Swiping credit card indiscriminately and accessing public Wi-Fi without protection could land a traveller to abroad in trouble

If you have the habit of buying things online, you’d better think twice before you order something on the Internet when you are abroad. Cyber security experts warn that the travellers are quite vulnerable for online frauds if go on buying spree without caring a damn for protection.

In a global survey conducted by the Moscow-based Internet security solutions firm Kaspersky, about 82 per cent of travellers are connecting their phones with a public Wi-Fi to access the web, exposing them to vulnerabilities.

The survey was conducted in 23 countries, including the US, Russia, Europe and Asia-Pacific nations, to assess the threat faced by travellers when they go to another country. As many as 11,850 were interviewed, including 500 from India, to collect information.

Public networks

“It’s not surprising that travellers are becoming victims of cyber crime. About 82 per cent connect to public Wi-Fi when abroad. They are using this potentially risky connection which can be intercepted and used by cyber criminals,” Altaf Halde, Managing Director (South Asia) of Kaspersky Lab, said.

“In public networks, data may be transferred unencrypted, which makes your sensitive information (for example, passwords, logins, instant messages) available to cyber criminals. As a result, intercepted email addresses may be used for spam mailings, or the contents of your social network page may be changed,” he said.

To intercept data, a hacker only needs to be within the range of the wireless network unlike situations with cable networks when a physical connection is required.

With penetration levels of mobile payment gateways increasing, it is found that as many 61 per cent of the respondents bank online and 55 per cent shop online while travelling abroad. Besides 42 per cent of the sample admits that they shop online with their credit card,” the executive said, commenting on the survey results.

Good news is that about half of the respondents were conscious of the risk of losing money while travelling. A third of them believe that credit card frauds are a possibility. About 22 per cent of them had experienced such a loss at some point and 8 per cent of them admitted that their card was compromised after they swiped it abroad for a transaction.

The awareness levels are very low. About one-third of the respondents use a secure connection when connecting to public Wi-Fi, while 18 per cent said they do nothing to protect their connections.

“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. Travellers must think twice about their online activity when they are abroad,” the Kaspersky executive said.

Published on July 21, 2016

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