Popular destinations are potentially more prone than others
In separate research, McAfee also ranked the top five summer destinations that showed the highest concentration of “potentially malicious” websites. They are Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Venice, Italy; and Canmore, Canada.
“Taking advantage of the high search volumes for accommodation and deals in these popular destinations, cybercriminals drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware and steal personal information or passwords,” McAfee said.
The riskiest holiday destinations were identified using top holiday destination and search terms, which are more likely to yield potentially malicious websites in the results, including: 2019 vacation, all-inclusive vacation, best vacations 2019, cheap trip deals, last minute vacation, travel deals, vacation and vacation deals.
An overall risk percentage was calculated for each destination using the total number of risky websites divided by the number of search results returned. Using McAfee WebAdvisor data, resulting domains and URLs were measured and assigned a risk of “high,” “medium” and “unverified.”
Travelers don’t keep their data safe
McAfee’s survey also found that 31% of consumers “are leaving the door open to fraud because they do not check the authenticity of a website before booking a trip online.”
Despite 36% of people expressing concerns of having their personal data stolen while on vacation, 42% said they either do not check the security of their internet connection or willingly connect to an unsecured network while traveling.
Other potentially dangerous travel and technology behaviors included 40% of Americans using work devices while on vacation, 66% of travelers checking and sending e-mails, and 35% managing money through a banking app.
“Despite work devices being connected to a wealth of personal and private data via corporate cloud, email and productivity services, the vast majority admitted they connect to public WiFi in the airport (46%) and the hotel (69%), potentially putting sensitive business information at risk,” McAfee noted in its report.
Additional FTC tips include:
- Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
- Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay.
- If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed.