Speaking on the eve of the 20th anniversary edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), AnchorFree's David Gorodyansky described how a new era of mobile-powered tourism, coupled with the constant demand for social and business connectivity, is exposing unwitting travellers to the dangers of identity theft, spam and malware attacks.
"Whether departing for business or pleasure, today's travellers find it increasingly difficult to switch off," said Gorodyansky. "Mobile technology is fundamentally changing the way we vacate. You no longer need bulky maps, guides, phrasebooks, or even travel agents to book flights and accommodation."
"You can do all of that on your smartphone. But while app-assisted tourism is great for convenience, it can make us vulnerable. In particular, there is a worrying trend of escalating, unprotected use of Wi-Fi Hotspots in places like airports or cafes, which can make you a prime target for all manner of cyber risks."
A segment of this year's ATM show was dedicated to the digital technologies in the travel industry has grown 34% since last year.
Last year, active Mena users of AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield VPN, the world's most popular VPN with more than 120 million downloads , increased by 995%, while total installs shot up by 775%.
Hotspot Shield protects against snooping and identity theft by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between your mobile device and the internet. It also detects and blocks malware and compresses data to save on roaming charges when abroad.
"Safeguarding your mobile while abroad is now arguably as important as any other form of travel insurance, and VPNs with built-in protective capabilities are fast emerging as a must-have for adventurous Mena residents," added Gorodyansky.
In 2012, the number of people actively using Hotspot Shield every month doubled from 4.5 to 10 million, resulting in the protection of 18.6 billion internet pages. Available for PC, Mac, iOS and Android platforms, Hotspot Shield has been downloaded by over 120 million people in 190 countries to date.