15 Holiday Destinations With Malicious WiFi

It can happen at anytime and just about anywhere these days. Hackers, armed with the latest in stealth technology, seek out locations where people tend to congregate in large numbers. These locations become virtual gold mines for those wanting to electronically steal our valuable information. For the over 50's coming to grips with the threat can seem difficult to comprehend, let alone manage.

Hackers know some of the best places to exploit their victims in large numbers include, food courts, airports, shopping centers and tourist destinations in which tourists flock in great number. Skycure, recently acquired by Symantec, provide consumers and business with the tools to protect them from cyber attacks.

In their report 10 years of (Hacking) iOS produced in July 2017, the company confirm that iOS (Apple) devices continue to become more and more popular in the enterprise environment, especially in the executive halls around the world. So it's only natural that hackers follow suit by creating iOS malware at a higher rate than they do for Android. In fact the percentage of iOS devices with malware tripled over the last two quarters while the rate of Android malware stayed relatively flat over the same period.

Malicious Networks Around The World

Another threat detailed in the report is risky and malicious networks. Curious to determine if a particular platform and/or location played a role in how often devices were exposed to network threats by looking, they investigated both Android and iPhone exposures in North America as compared to Europe (the largest markets for iOS devices).

The report found the network incident rate is higher in Europe for both platforms, and across all geographies as iPhone users connect to fewer risky networks than their Android counterparts. This is more likely to be the result of individual behavior and prevalence of malicious networks than due to any differences in the platforms themselves.

Skycure-Risky-Network-Exposures Source/Credit: Skycure

As scary as all of this may be, and potentially disturbing for those who thought they didn’t need to worry about securing their iPhones, there are actions that we can take to keep ourselves and our devices safe from would-be attackers.

As an example of the threat which exists, Skycure issued a Rio travel advisory based on detecting numerous security incidents targeted at unsuspecting tourists. The company stated that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, were set to exceed the 2014 World Cup data (also in Brazil) which saw almost 90,000 attacks in a 30-day period according to cybersecurity firm, Cytegic.

By taking advantage of the free mobile defense app from Skycure, which detects and alerts you to malicious network attacks, suspicious networks and malware, you can protect yourself from exposure to these types of threats. I downloaded their free app on my mobile phone before heading away on my recent trip to Bali, Indonesia.

Before heading off I was also able to view the threat on my home computer, which allowed me to search for any threats using their mapping technology here before leaving home.

bali-threatmap Skycure Bali Threat Map indicating malicious WiFi locations.

To download Skycure, go to: https://apps.skycure.com on your iOS or Android device, or go to the App Store or Google Play store and search for “Skycure”.

Skycure studied the world’s most popular tourist attractions, and they reported the following in identifying actual network threats occurring from mobile devices over the past year.

Destinations in large cities such as New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Las Vegas topped the list. Three separate Disney Parks were in the top 15 riskiest tourist destinations, including Disneyland Paris, Disneyland in Anaheim, and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

They further stated, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is the world’s safest top tourist attraction for mobile users, partly due to the limited connectivity around the famous structure and mostly due to the ban on using mobile phones within the monument. These mobile phone limitations create a low value for attackers to create malicious hotspots near the attraction. Within the United States, the safest top tourist destination was Great Smoky Mountains national park in Tennessee, a wilderness abundant in beauty but not mobile connectivity.

'Unfortunately for mobile tourists, the most magical places on earth can sometimes be the most dangerous,' said Adi Sharabani, CEO of Skycure.

'When you’re in a high-traffic area like these famous destinations, you’re a target for hackers. Unlike your computer, your phone is always on, even when you’re taking in the sights. Mobile tourists are a lucrative target for cyber criminals.'

The threats were identified with Skycure’s patent pending Active Honeypot technology and crowd wisdom which creates the world’s most complete picture of the Internet from a mobile perspective. Skycure conducts millions of security tests on a monthly basis and monitors tens of thousands of mobile devices. Travelers can check for top mobile threats in any destination by visiting https://maps.skycure.com.

The top 15 tourist attractions in 2015 with the highest risk are:

1. Times Square, New York City, NY

2. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

3. Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee, France

4. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

5. Ocean Park, Hong Kong

6. Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, NV

7. Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, CA

8. Union Station, Washington DC

9. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA

10. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA

11. Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

12. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

13. Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

14. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL

15. Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Times change, and in order to become aware of the current threat in any location around the world, visit Skycure's threat map and download their free app to protect yourself when at home or overseas. It's available at the App Store or on Google Play

The company recommends the following to protect your device.

  • Don’t click, install or connect to anything that you are not confident is safe.
  • Only install apps from reputable app stores.
  • Don’t perform sensitive work on your device while connected to a network you don’t trust.
  • Always update to the latest security patch as soon as it is available for your device.
  • Protect your device with a free mobile security app like Skycure

Sandra Hawkins

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