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Revealed: These popular destinations are where tourists are most likely to get cyber scammed 

  • China and Cuba are the most cyber-unsafe tourist destinations in the world. 
  • Popular spots for UK and EU tourists, including UAE, Egypt and Turkey all landed in the 10 least safe countries worldwide.
  • TechRadar’s digital privacy expert reveals how to stay digitally safe while travelling abroad

 

China, Cuba and Vietnam are the most cyber-unsafe tourist destinations in the world, according to new research revealed today.

The research, conducted by TechRadar analysed the most popular tourist spots from a cybersecurity and digital privacy standpoint to discover which countries pose the highest risks for travellers.

The overall ranking has determined the biggest traps based on the countries’ data privacy score, censorship and risk of punishment, along with their cybersecurity score. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, China scored especially low in cybersecurity (2.91%) and censorship (1.89%). The Great Firewall of China heavily restricts what people can do and see online. This Firewall imposes invasive surveillance techniques and if caught browsing banned sites, users can be punished severely, and in worst-case scenarios, they can risk detention.

Table 1: Ranked: The top 10 least cyber-secure tourist destinations

Rank 

Country Cybersecurity Score Data Privacy Score Censorship & Risk of Punishment Score Access Score Overall Score

1

China

2.91%

23.80%

1.89%

32.00%

15.15%

2

Cuba

33.33%

13.33% 17.91% 16.00%

20.15%

3

Vietnam

21.39% 11.67%

8.01%

48.00% 22.27%

4

Egypt, Arab Rep.

38.84%

11.67% 11.79% 52.00%

28.57%

5

Belarus

40.13%

13.33% 19.64% 48.00%

30.28%

6

United Arab Emirates

49.83%

8.33% 17.91% 48.00%

31.02%

7

Bahrain

33.33%

13.33% 15.09% 64.00%

31.44%

8

Kazakhstan

29.28%

33.33% 25.30% 40.00% 31.98%

9

Turkiye

46.70%

29.48% 22.00% 56.00%

38.55%

10

Cambodia

33.33%

40.00%

31.90%

52.00% 39.31%

Some of the UK and EU holidaymakers’ favourite summer getaway destinations have landed in the top 10 least safe countries worldwide. Egypt, with an overall score of 28.57%, is the third worst country overall for censorship and fourth on the overall index. For a country that attracts an estimated half a million visitors from the UK each year according to GOV.UK, it could quite easily become a cyber nightmare for tourists if not taking the right precautions. Furthermore, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a widely popular luxury destination amongst UK tourists, however, it is ranked the worst for data privacy with a score of just 8.33%.

Also appearing in the top ten least secure (with an overall score of 38%) is Turkey, according to GOV.UK, British nationals made close to four million visits to Turkey last year alone, making the country one of the most popular destinations by far among UK travellers.

Some of the most popular spots for both gap years and digital nomads also appear in the ‘most unsafe’ list, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Vietnam, in particular, was ranked third least cyber-safe with an overall score of 22%.

TechRadar’s digital privacy expert, Andreas Theodorou, commented:

“A reliable VPN is a non-negotiable essential if you plan on using public Wi-Fi abroad. There are so many opportunities for your information to be stolen and your device to be compromised—it’s like playing Russian roulette with your digital privacy.

 

“Some of the most dangerous online activities to do abroad whilst online are banking, shopping, posting on social media and streaming shows (especially if connecting to a public Wi-Fi), so protecting yourself at every step of the journey is vital. If you don’t properly secure your data while you’re travelling, you risk having your identity stolen, as well as your bank details, logins, passwords—anything and everything that could leave you stranded and penniless, far away from home.”

For more information on how to stay safe digitally abroad, and to discover which other countries are on the list, please visit: Tourist cyber traps revealed: where to use a VPN | TechRadar

— — —

Methodology: The research focused on how safe tourists are likely to be from cyberattacks, censorship, surveillance and risk of punishment related to online activities usually protected by human rights, such as freedom of expression in countries with the highest number of international tourist arrivals. Data privacy and access to the internet were also included. The rank is based on an average of 4 key scoring factors: cybersecurity, data privacy, censorship and risk of punishment and access. In the final ranking, only countries with over 1 million annual international arrivals, where data was available were included. The score aims to find the biggest tourist cyber traps so we omitted countries that are not recommended for travel.

By Ross L.