Millennials are facing scrutiny once again as new findings from the Palo Alto Networks Trust reveals that over a third of them are risking the cyber security of their work place devices when on holiday.
The Digital Age online survey taken out by the trust, along with YouGov and expert on the human nature of cybersecurity, Dr Jessica Barker, discovered that people are taking work devices, such as smartphones or tablets, on holiday with them and using them in Wi-Fi hotspots. This is despite knowing of the security risks that come with using unprotected networks.
Using free Wi-Fi can leave users vulnerable to potential hack attacks because of the lack of security and amount of people using it.
The research was taken from 2,100 people and was performed in order to explore how likely people are to trust cybersecurity and protection practices of digital technologies in a modern life.
Using Wi-Fi hotspots
Of the British employees questioned, 34% said that they would be likely to use their work device in places that have free Wi-Fi, like a bar or beach, when on holiday. With 35% of millennials being likely to do this, making them the highest age group.
Dr Jessica Barker comments: “For many people, the line between work and leisure is blurred and this applies to our personal technology, too. Employees are expected to take their work devices on holiday, or in fact want to do so, to keep on top of emails and manage their workload before returning to the office.”
“Threat from unsecured Wi-Fi”
Continuing to discuss the importance of safeguarding devices, Dr Barker says: “The threat from unsecured Wi-Fi is real and raising awareness of this issue is so important as this kind of attack takes advantage of well-meaning employees who do not want to put the security of their organisation at risk but do so unwittingly. If people need to access Wi-Fi while on holiday, then using a corporate or trusted VPN is crucial. Otherwise, leave work at home and enjoy the beach while avoiding a breach!”
Alex Hinchliffe, European threat intelligence analyst, Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks reiterates the point on safety by commenting: “Everyone should be extremely cautious about using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, whether it’s their personal or a work-issue device. And while the behaviour revealed by our study is worrying as it suggests too many people are all too ready to overlook company policy on acceptable use, it is encouraging that there are steps that businesses can put in place to educate employees properly on cybersecurity best practices.”
Companies are also warned to keep up the education of their employees regarding cyber safety and ensuring that software teams are following the right protection procedures when needed.