New Delhi– Business travellers, particularly senior executives, are more likely to be mugged of valuable private and corporate data than money as they travel abroad, a report by Russia-based software security group Kaspersky Lab revealed on Tuesday.

One in five persons have been a target of cyber crime while abroad — rising to almost a third (31 per cent) of senior business managers — the report found.

Konstantin Voronkov
Konstantin Voronkov

“This shows us that cyber crime is a real hazard while travelling and employees are putting confidential business information at risk,” said Konstantin Voronkov, Head of Endpoint Product Management at Kaspersky Lab.

The researchers found the pressure from work to get online is clouding the judgment of business travellers when connecting to the internet.

Three in five (59 per cent) persons in senior roles said they try to log on as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad because there is an expectation at work that they will stay connected. By the time business travellers reach the arrivals’ terminal, one in six is using their work device to get online.

Over half of people travelling for work (54 percent) — and up to 62 per cent of senior executives — make no distinction between their behaviour when abroad despite the fact they are a long way from the security of their work communications networks and they are handling employers’ confidential data at work, the study noted.

Almost half (48 per cent) of senior managers and more than two in five (43 per cent) of mid-level managers use insecure public access Wi-Fi networks to connect their work devices when abroad.

At least two in five (44 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively) use Wi-Fi to transmit work emails with sensitive or confidential attachments.

“We recommend explaining the threat to employees as awareness is the first step to protection. Another important countermeasure is security over unsafe networks, such as using VPN to access the corporate network, and email encryption,” Voronkov suggested.

“In addition, multi-layered endpoint protection should be implemented, including anti-malware, exploit prevention, host-based intrusion protection and firewall, URL filtering technologies, and installation of the most up to date software and system patches,” he added.

The researchers polled 11,850 people from across Europe, Russia, Latin America, Asia Pacific and the US for the results. (IANS)