Vacations can be a great time for family fun, but cybersecurity concerns while traveling can cause headaches and financial issues if proper precautions are not taken. With a recent survey by University of Phoenix revealing that very few U.S. adults consider their cyber safety when traveling, we asked Sterling Kellis to provide tips to help travelers stay secure. He advises vacationers to follow a simple cyber hygiene acronym: R-I-S-K.
Listen to this episode on our podcast:
1. Tell about yourself and what you do for the University of Phoenix.
I am Sterling Kellis, assistant dean of technology for the College of Information Systems and Technology at University of Phoenix. My role at the University is to help design, develop, revise, and evaluate technology tools; expand workshop, bootcamp, and skill builder offerings and identify and deliver educational training.
2. What did the University of Phoenix survey find on people’s perceptions of summer travel cybersecurity?
In today’s connected world, it is vital that cybersecurity is top-of-mind. However, we all know that during vacation we can forget to follow best practices, which can leave us vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The University survey found that nearly all (97%) U.S. adults own and use a mobile device, yet only 4% said that cybersecurity was in their top two concerns while on vacation. More people cared about the cost of vacation (31%), their personal safety (30%) and even the weather (24%).
Using a smartphone while on vacation could mean frequently connecting to public Wi-Fi, which comes with risks. While public Wi-Fi can be convenient and is often safe, people can never know for sure if their connection is encrypted, if the network is being spoofed or what malicious actors are monitoring them.
3. Are people taking precautions to keep their data safe while on vacation?
We know from the survey that few people are concerned about cybersecurity while on vacation, but what’s surprising is that their perception is not likely to change even if it means being hacked.
We found that more than two in five respondents (42%) would not stop using their mobile device while on vacation even if it meant reducing their potential risk of being hacked.
4. What is R-I-S-K and how can it help people avoid data breaches?
R-I-S-K is a simple and easy to remember acronym of cybersecurity best practices that parents can follow when traveling this summer.
R: Run Updates. Regularly update your phone. Your phone is programmed to alert you when software updates are available. If you’re like most people, these alerts probably get delayed or ignored, but don’t do that. These are important because they include security patches to protect against known breaches. Delaying or ignoring updates can make your device more vulnerable to attacks.
I: Initiate Connections. Avoid “automatically” connecting to Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and GPS tracking. These are great connectivity tools, but when not using them, turn them off. Hackers can create hotspots that spoof Wi-Fi networks.
S: Simplify Browsing. Avoid visiting unfamiliar sites and downloading questionable content – memes, images, or files. If accessing bank or financial information, try to avoid using public Wi-Fi connections.
K: Keep Passwords Secure. Safeguard passwords by updating them regularly, diversifying them across accounts, and increasing complexity.
5. How can parents keep their family safe this summer?
R-I-S-K is a component of cyber hygiene. Much like how we should clean our teeth and our bodies to preserve our health, it is important that we take similar measures to preserve the health of our data. In addition to following R-I-S-K, download VPNs and passwords managers to help proactively protect against data breaches.
About our guest:
Sterling Kellis is the assistant dean of technology for the College of Information Systems and Technology at University of Phoenix. In his role, he is responsible for designing, developing, revising, and evaluating technology tools; expanding workshop, bootcamp, and skill-builder offerings and identifying and delivering educational training. Prior to joining the University, Kellis was the owner of Compass Marketing and the CEO of Excalibur Charter Schools. He earned his MBA and Master of Arts in Education, Technology and Curriculum Development from University of Phoenix and holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Brigham Young University.