More than 52 per cent Indians in a survey said they could not last a day without checking their work or personal e-mail, while 57 per cent said they felt anxiety over being unplugged. The survey conducted by tech firm McAfee – which comes ahead of the winter holidays – was to better understand consumer behaviour when on vacation and how digital habits could be putting their personal information at risk. It found that despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most individuals said they preferred to stay connected. More than a quarter (29 per cent) admitted to checking their e-mail consistently throughout the day. In fact, about 60 per cent indicated that they spend at least an hour a day using their connected devices to check e-mails, texts and post to social media while on vacation. Interestingly, while people were willing to leave behind their laptops (72 per cent), only 40 per cent said they would be willing to leave their smartphone at home.
Vacation can be an ideal opportunity to take a break from connected devices but most Indians are struggling to do so, said McAfee Vice President Engineering and Managing Director Venkat Krishnapur. “Our study reveals that almost three in four Indians (74 per cent) rely on unsecured Wi-Fi during their vacations to connect with family, friends, work and social media, increasing their exposure to prying cybercriminals,” he added. He added that to avoid being compromised, it becomes even more important for travellers to exercise caution and rely on technology to stay safe online across all devices.
The study – which included 1,504 people in India – found 67 per cent saying they would prefer to stay unplugged during a vacation if work were not a factor. More than half revealed they have felt anxiety over being unplugged with 86 per cent saying they avoid unplugging to be reachable by family and friends. McAfee suggested that users ensure they connect to Internet through a secure connection, especially while travelling and avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Besides, they should ensure their devices’ operating system and applications are updated as old versions could leave them open to potential security vulnerabilities. It also advised using a device locating app. “If you lose your connected device, especially on a 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,” it said.