Times Square in New York City is the riskiest place for tourists using a mobile device, according to a new analysis from mobile threat defense company Skycure.
In its report, Skycure analyzed the presence of mobile threats and high-risk networks at the 50 locations included on Travel & Leisure’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions list and identified the prevalence of actual threats within 25 square miles from each site from June 2014 to June 2015. If more than one attraction was within the same 25 square mile area, the most popular destination was used.
Among the most dangerous locations for mobile users were destinations in large cities, such as New York, Paris and San Francisco, as well as three separate Disney Parks, including the Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California.
“Unfortunately for mobile tourists, the most magical places on earth can sometimes be the most dangerous,” said Skycure CEO Adi Sharabani. “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 locations safest for mobile users were those that had limited connectivity or other mobile use restrictions, such as the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
In a separate analysis of Threat Intelligence data, Skycure found that the average monthly rate of threat encounters for all mobile devices was 25 percent. Further, on a monthly basis, approximately 41 percent of Android users will encounter a threat compared to 19 percent of iOS devices.
According to the report, the most frequent threats identified were SSL decryption attacks, which allow hackers to capture personal and work information even in a session the user believes is secure. The research also revealed cases of SSL stripping, which downgrades secure URLs (https) to non-secure URLs (http) and allows hackers to gain access to private information and communication.
To minimize the threat of a mobile attack, Skycure advised device users to avoid free Wi-Fi networks, update their devices to the most current operating system, read any warnings that may appear on their device and do not proceed if the threat is not understood, disconnect from the network if your phone behaves strangely and employ the services of a mobile security app.
The top 15 tourist attractions with the highest mobile 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