I travel frequently for business — to industry conferences such as RSA Conference and Black Hat and meeting with clients. Whenever I travel, I bring my work laptop, my personal cellphone enabled with work email and calendar, and, of course, all my personal data that follows me everywhere I go — my digital identity. Millions of people travel for business every year, potentially putting their personal information and their employer’s sensitive data at risk.
When you’re at the airport trying to send some work emails before boarding a long flight, you might not give a second thought to connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi hot spot. Or when your cellphone battery is dying and you plug into a USB charging station, you might not consider who else may have been tampering with these “free” resources. I’ve been there myself. I know that open Wi-Fi is sometimes better than no Wi-Fi, which is why I always use a virtual private network (VPN) when logging on outside the corporate network.
Not everyone is so careful.
According to a new research report from Morning Consult on behalf of IBM Security, travelers frequently don’t consider the risks of activities like connecting to public Wi-Fi, charging their devices at public USB stations and logging into publicly accessible computers, such as a workstation in a hotel business center. What’s more concerning is that people engage in these risky behaviors while traveling for business at an even higher rate than when traveling for personal reasons.