A new report has found that business travelers, especially senior-level executives, admit to experiencing cybercrime while traveling.
The Kaspersky Lab International Travel Report suggests that one in five people have been a target of cyber-crime while abroad, and almost a third (31%) are senior level business managers.
The survey polled 11,850 people from across the U.S., Europe, Russia, Latin America, and Asia Pacific and found that almost half of senior managers and more than 43% of mid-level managers use unsecure public access Wi-Fi networks to connect their work devices when abroad and at least two in five (44% and 40%, respectively) use Wi-Fi to transmit work emails with sensitive or confidential attachments.
The report findings show that the pressure from work to get online is a leading factor of why business travelers are connecting to unsecured public networks. By the time business travelers reach the arrivals terminal, one in six is using their work device to get online and those in senior leadership roles (59%) say they try to log on as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad because there is an expectation at work that they will stay connected.
Additionally, the report reveals that there is a widely held assumption that work devices are more secure than private communications tools, regardless of their connectivity. Two in five (41%) expect that their employers have set strong security measures already. This is most pronounced among business leaders (53%) and mid-level executives (46%).
Half of those surveyed (54%) make no distinction at all between their online activities when traveling for work and when at home or in the office, despite the fact that they depend on secure residential and office connections at home to keep their communication safe; the number rises, again, for mid-level and senior managers (to as much as 62%). One in five (20) senior executives admit to using work devices to access websites of a sensitive nature via Wi-Fi – compared to an average of 12%.
“Businesses need to educate employees on the potential cyber threats while traveling, as awareness is the first step to protection, said Konstantin Voronkov, Head of Endpoint Product Management at Kaspersky Lab. Another important countermeasure is implementing the use of a VPN to access the corporate network, email encryption, and a multilayered endpoint protection strategy. When employees are out of a corporate network perimeter the most efficient, and often the only protection applicable, is the security measures applied to their laptops or mobile devices.”