May 26, 2024

Business travellers not doing enough to reduce cyber security threats  

Less than a quarter (24%) of business travellers have anti-virus software on their devices, according to a new Opinium survey of 500 business travellers. 

The survey commissioned by World Travel Protection found only 22% use a VPN (virtual private network) on any mobile devices and only 21% ensure two-factor authentication is set up.

Less than a fifth (18%) have been asked not to post on social media that they are away and only 17% have received training on improving cyber security, such as not using unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots or Bluetooth.

While away on business trips, only 17% travel with a laptop stripped of all but essential files; 16% use a different mobile phone, such as one used for a limited period and then discarded; 16% keep location sharing on so the organisation can trace them in an emergency; 16% use biometric security features such a facial recognition or fingerprints; and 16% ensure the screen lock is on and not to overextend the count down time before the device auto-locks.

Kate Fitzpatrick, Regional Security Director, UK, World Travel Protection said: “Business travellers are an easy target for cyber criminals to harvest an organisation’s data. Laptops and mobile devices used in public places represent a soft underbelly for criminals to exploit. Even simple steps like using a laptop screen protector so prying eyes can’t view sensitive data is effective.

“Organisations can pre-program a device for travel, and once the traveller returns, it’s wiped and reset for use on the next trip. If you do need to carry your everyday business device, then at a minimum, ensure that passwords are changed once home.”

Cyber security is a growing problem. In the first six months of this year, there were 2.8 billion malware attacks worldwide causing devastating knock-on effects for companies. Global transport and logistics giant, Maersk, for instance, faced $300 million in losses due to a cyber-attack that crippled its supply chains worldwide in 2017.

“Prioritising cyber secure measures to focus on risk mitigation should be uppermost in all organisations’ travel policies, particularly with insurers increasing premiums for cyber coverage as well as introducing more stringent warranties and conditions,” added Fitzpatrick.