More Than Half of Indians Have Felt Anxiety Over Being Unplugged: McAfee Study

To help educate consumers as they prepare for the upcoming holiday season, McAfee conducted a study, “Digital Detox: Unwind, Relax and Unplug,” to better understand the behavior and attitudes of consumers when on vacation, and how digital habits could be putting their personal information at risk. The survey found that despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most individuals prefer to stay connected. More than half of the Indians on holiday (60%) indicated that they spend at least an hour a day using their connected devices to check email, text and post to social media while on vacation.

The end of the year travel season can be a lot of fun for everyone, including cybercriminals who may try to exploit travelers who are in unfamiliar settings. When individuals put convenience over security, by using unsecured Wi-Fi access points, they leave themselves open to the possibility of having their personal information compromised.

“Vacations can be an ideal opportunity to take a break from connected devices, but most Indians are struggling to do so,” says Venkat Krishnapur, VP of Engineering and Managing Director at McAfee. “Our study reveals, almost three in four Indians rely on unsecured Wi-Fi during their vacations to connect with family, friends, work and social media, increasing their exposure to prying cybercriminals.  To avoid being compromised, it becomes even more important for travelers to exercise caution and rely on technology to stay safe online across all devices.”

The wide availability of Wi-Fi networks can make it difficult to unplug and disconnect on vacation, but if consumers take that extra step and unplug they can experience a more secure trip. While many individuals did not intend to unplug while traveling, 83% Indians reported a much more enjoyable experience being unplugged.

Can’t Put the Device Down:
More than half (52%) Indians could not last a day without checking their work or personal email. More than a quarter (29%) admitted to checking their email consistently throughout the day.
One in two Indians (51%) could not resist the urge to post to social media while vacationing.
More than half of the Indians (57%) have felt anxiety over being unplugged
Laptops were the most common device left behind (72%), but only 40% would be willing to leave their smartphone behind.
The most common reason individuals avoid unplugging was to be reachable by family and friends (86%).

Carefree Wi-Fi Usage
74% of participants primarily connected using publicly available Wi-Fi leaving them open to potential security risks.
Remarkably, 34% of travelers considered their personal information and data to be more secure while traveling than it is at home.

Work, Work, Work:
41% of Indians claimed that they stayed connected to be reachable by work, but if work were not a factor 67% would prefer to stay unplugged.
65% of individuals in their 20s and 30s would prefer to completely unplug on vacation compared with almost half of individuals in their 40s (53%).

Mom and Dad Know Best:
Most parents think devices should take a backseat on vacation with 65% planning to unplug compared with 57% of individuals without children. Parents were only slightly more successful at abstaining from tech with 80% declaring success compared with 74% of people without children.
68% of Indian parents allow their children to use connected devices while traveling.
Parents tend to be more tech savvy than their non-parental counterparts and are more likely to know if their Wi-Fi connection is safe and secure to use (75% vs. 64%).

Tips to Help Secure Your Personal Information and Devices:

Browse securely when away from home. Ensure that you are connecting securely while traveling and avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. If you absolutely must connect to a public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN will keep your information private and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.
Update your devices. The first line of defense for your devices is you, so it’s important to take a few precautions to stay safe. Make sure your devices’ operating system and applications are kept updated. Using old versions of software could leave you open to potential security vulnerabilities.
Install cross-device security. After you’ve updated your devices with the latest software install comprehensive security. A solution like McAfee Total Protection can help your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.
Use a device locating app. If you lose your connected device, especially on vacation, it can be difficult to recover. Location applications can help you find, lock and even erase your device’s data in the event of theft or loss.