Photo (cc) by Charleston's TheDigitel
Some of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations are also among the world’s riskiest places for mobile devices — with Times Square topping the list.
A new analysis by Skycure, a mobile security company based in California, shows that tourists are an attractive target for cyber criminals.
Adi Sharabani, Skycure chief executive, explains in a news release:
“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.”
The riskiest destinations according to Skycure’s analysis are:
- Times Square, New York City
- Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
- Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee, France
- Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
- Ocean Park, Hong Kong
- Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas
- Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, California
- Union Station, Washington, D.C.
- Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
- Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California
- Navy Pier, Chicago
- St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
- Grand Palace, Bangkok
- Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park, Orlando, Florida
- Pike Place Market, Seattle
The most common threat at these locations is a Wi-Fi-based attack called SSL decryption, which allows attackers to obtain personal information (like mobile-banking login names and passwords) and work information (like corporate credentials), Skycure reports.
SSL stripping — which allows attackers to convert secure HTTPS Web addresses to nonsecure HTTP addresses — is another common form of attack.
On average, there is a more than 25 percent chance of a mobile device exposing personal or business information to attack over a Wi-Fi network during any given month, regardless of where the user is located, Skycure’s analysis shows. The chance is greater for devices running the Android operating system than those running Apple’s iOS.
Skycure recommends the following precautions:
- Avoid “free Wi-Fi” networks.
- Update your device to the most current operating system.
- Read the warnings on your device, and don’t click “Continue” if you don’t understand the exposure.
- Disconnect from the network if your phone behaves strangely (e.g. frequent crashes) or you receive a warning notification.
- Protect your device with a mobile security app.
What steps do you take to protect your information when using a public Wi-Fi connection? Let us know in the “Comments” section below or on Facebook.