Lavasoft Study Finds Consumers Are Booking More Vacations Online Despite Security Concerns

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Approximately 50 percent of consumers surveyed have had a computer virus

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Lavasoft has just released the results of its 2015 Summer Travel and Online Risk Survey. Lavasoft surveyed more than 500 consumers regarding their experiences with common summer travel booking habits, online risks and online security practices. As most of the U.S. turns to online booking for their summer travel plans, Lavasoft conducted this study to discover the online habits of consumers in relation to their travel plans.

With heightened online activity surrounding summer travel, now is the time for travelers to take stock of their online safety habits and make sure they have an updated, multi-layered antivirus solution installed. More than 60 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they have received an email or phone call offering a free or discounted vacation in the past, showing that potential scams are utilizing travel-oriented messages to steal personal identifying information.

Click to Tweet: >60% of consumers receive fake free/discount vacation offers. Scammers target travel-oriented messages to steal personal identity @Lavasoft

Summer Travel Habits Analyzed
Despite nearly half of consumers having online fraud or safety concerns with booking travel online, the study found that half of travelers planning vacations this summer still plan to book online. The study also found that more than half of travelers who book online are likely to do so through a discount marketplace. When broken down by age, younger generations, such as millennials, are far more likely to book flights and hotels online through a discounted marketplace than baby boomers.

Click to Tweet: 50% of consumers have fraud/safety concerns w/ booking travel online yet 1/2 still plan to book vacation online this summer @Lavasoft survey

In terms of choosing an airline or hotel, nearly 70 percent of travelers are more likely to book with a given brand based on the best price.

“With so many tech tools at their disposal, the modern traveler has become so budget savvy that they choose to seek out the cheapest deals, which ultimately may lead them to inadvertently click on something fraudulent, resulting in a multitude of online risks,” said Daniel Assouline, CEO at Lavasoft. “These risks can include identity or credit card theft, exposed personal information and computer malfunction. Being so focused on getting the most bang for their buck, travelers might turn a blind eye to their online safety. We hope that this study can remind consumers to prioritize online safety while booking summer travel.”

Online Risks by the Numbers
According to the survey, one in four consumers has clicked on a search result that has taken them to a fake or suspicious website. Travelers are likely taking these risks because they are on the hunt for the most affordable vacation prices available. In their searches, nearly one in five respondents have clicked on a suspicious link offering a free or discounted trip, and of those, almost 25 percent have received a fake confirmation email or receipt.

Click to Tweet: 1/5 consumers have clicked suspicious links offering a free/discount trip. Of those, ~25% received fake confirmation receipt! via @Lavasoft

Despite various risks, travelers still don’t have the best safety habits when it comes to Internet usage. In fact, almost one in five respondents uses the same password across multiple travel websites. Survey findings indicate a direct correlation between those who use the same password and those who do not regularly update their security software – putting those users’ payment and personal information at an even higher risk. Additionally, more than 10 percent of consumers do not have an antivirus system installed on their computers. Among the millennial age group, this figure jumps to nearly 20 percent.

Click to Tweet: Direct correlation found between those who use same password & don't update security software, leaving payment info at higher risk @Lavasoft

Booking travel online is a summer ritual for many consumers and they need to protect themselves from any risks that result from increased online activity. Multi-layered security and antivirus software is the best way to surf the Web safely and enables consumers to book their summer travel plans without the risk of a virus.

Consumers can use security software such as Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Web Companion, which is compatible with all existing antivirus programs and works with the top browsers to provide complete anti-spyware, phishing and browser hijacking protection. Ad-Aware Web Companion protects against summer travel risks and more by providing four layers of defense:

  •     Detects and removes known search hijacker programs.
  •     Locks unwanted search hijacker programs from being installed.
  •     Traps changes made to your current search engine and prompts you for confirmation prior to the changes being made.
  •     Extracts the user's preferred search engine setting from the browser and secures it.

“With the breadth of high-level security breaches and hacks that we’ve seen in the past year, it’s important for consumers to actively use antivirus programs that come equipped with a multi-layered approach,” said Assouline. “Most antivirus companies don’t have the time to detect, catalog and neutralize attacks as they come in, leaving large gaps in getting information to the consumer. Web Companion’s multi-layered approach helps remove this long detection period by stopping fraudsters in their tracks.”

To keep all consumers – including the travelers who participated in this survey – protected online, Lavasoft recently released an update to Ad-Aware Web Companion. While it cannot change the online behavior that consumers engage in, it can help prevent their online activity from being compromised by cybercriminals.

For more information about Lavasoft and its suite of software tools designed to keep consumers safe online in the summer travel season and any season, visit Lavasoft’s blog.

About Lavasoft
Lavasoft is the maker of Ad-Aware, the world’s No. 1 free antivirus software. Founded in 1999, Lavasoft is the original anti-malware company, creating award-winning, free security and privacy software. Born of the belief that online security should be available to everyone, Lavasoft offers millions of users maximum protection for their computers and online identities. With nearly 500 million downloads, its flagship product Ad-Aware has blocked and removed billions of threats, saving consumers from all forms of attack and malware – including viruses, spyware, adware, phishing and drive-by downloads. Lavasoft is a global company with operations in North America and Europe. For more information, visit

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Beth Kempton
Walker Sands Communications
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