Lighter wallets are one of the main culprits behind travelers’ ongoing search for the best deals when booking vacations online. While you may be tempted to save an extra penny, chasing offers that seem too good to be true places personally identifyable information at risk of being comprised by scammers. Despite the fact many consumers share similar online safety concerns; a recent study from Lavasoft revealed that those booking travel online continue to place higher priority on working within a limited budget than their online security.
Of the more than 500 consumers surveyed regarding their experiences with common summer travel booking habits, online risks and security practices, approximately 60 percent have received fake discounted or free vacation offers. Although such attempts aimed at stealing sensitive information have caused nearly half of all consumers to worry about potential fraud, the study found that half of travelers planning summer vacations still intend to book online – regardless of the associated risks. Meanwhile, price continues to serve as a determining factor for about 70 percent of respondents choosing between competing airlines or hotels.
To limit risk, follow the following three rules to protect yourself from hackers, malware and whatever else comes your way as you book a vacation online.
Install layered security software
Even if you don’t count yourself among those that download files from insecure websites, the safest browsing practices may not be enough to lessen your risk of coming across malware. Merely visiting a website or clicking a link increases the chances your computer is infected due to the fact all websites, including those you trust most, face the possibility of being compromised.
For those surfing the Web with the hope of stumbling upon their next travel destination, multi-layered software is one of the best ways to avoid a harmful virus, malware or other risk. Security software that works seamlessly with existing antivirus programs and top browsers keeps consumers safe online by quickly neutralizing attacks from spyware, phishing and browser hijacking.
Keep programs and operating systems up to date
Microsoft Office, Google Chrome and Adobe Reader are some of the most commonly installed programs on computers. Their large and complex nature, however, make it easy for hackers to find and exploit flaws in such programs. Software companies do their best to address these security issues by releasing updates users can download to quickly fix specific problems. Still though, it’s up to you to make sure you have the latest patch for each program.
The same applies for operating systems. Mac OS X checks for updates each week and then prompts users to review, download and install them. For those using Windows, the program Windows Update automatically installs the most recent updates, ensuring your protection.
Prioritize online security
While a tight budget may force you to hunt for the best possible prices when booking travel online, you should still be cautious of scammers ready to take advantage of your desire to save. Lavasoft’s study discovered that consumers struggle with the idea of staying safe online as more than half of travelers who book online are likely to do so through a discount marketplace.
Exclusively using authentic websites to find and book the most affordable vacation packages will save you from the costs and stress associated with having their personally identifiable information stolen. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening emails from unknown companies that put you at risk of acquiring malware. Creating unique passwords for each website is yet another way in which you can enhance your online security instead of opting for the convenience of a single password across all websites.
As cybercriminals continue to become more sophisticated in their efforts to compromise sensitive information, consumers need to make an effort to protect themselves whenever browsing the Web. By following the three tips outlined above, you can ease your security concerns while continuing to book vacations online. To learn more, visit HERE.