How to Talk to Millennial Travelers About Cybersecurity

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Photo by Takemoto

85 percent of Millennials in the U.S. are concerned with their online security, according to a study by cloud-based collective threat intelligence company Webroot. With that in mind, we spoke with Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), for some tips on how Millennial travelers can keep their personal information safe on the road. 

“Obviously, [Millennials] are very devoted to their devices, and they use their devices tremendously for every aspect of their life, including travel,” Kaiser says. “They’re more likely to download apps from a location that they’re going to, and they’re more likely to use devices to make other kinds of arrangements, like dinner reservations or to use services like Uber and Lyft.”

With that reliance on mobile devices come security concerns of special importance to this demographic. 

“I think there’s a tendency of Millennials to engage more in sharing their experiences online,” says Kaiser. “Obviously a vacation is a big life experience, so sharing that they’re away, at a specific place, or who they’re with is something that they’re more likely to do.”

In fact, in the Webroot survey, almost two thirds (59 percent) of Millennials reporting sharing their personal travel plans on social media. By contrast, 71 percent of Baby Boomers reported never sharing their travel plans on social media. 

At the same time, there are some similarities between Millennials and other demographics when it comes to cybersecurity. “One regard that they share in common with everyone is that their biggest concern is financial loss,” says Kaiser. “Something like having their credit card stolen is the kind of thing that could really immediately impact their life.” 

In the Webroot survey, both Millennials and Baby Boomers named banking or credit card account information as the type of personal information they would be most concerned about if their mobile device was lost (79 percent each), followed by social security numbers. However, about half (49 percent) of Millennials were concerned about losing their social media usernames and passwords versus only 33 percent of Baby Boomers.

How to Talk to Millennial Clients

When talking to Millennial clients about cybersecurity, it’s important to bear in mind two phases of the trip: before they leave, and once they’re on the road, says Kaiser. 

Before they leave, travelers should take steps to secure their devices and personal accounts. “Make sure all critical software is up to date, and make sure all apps they’re going to use have been updated,” says Kaiser, “as those updates usually have critical security updates in them.”

If a traveler is going to be accessing an email account or another account on the road, setting up two-factor or multi factor authentication is also important. “We call it getting two steps ahead,” says Kaiser. “This is really a critical security step.”

Finally, travelers should make sure their devices are secured with either a password or biometric finger swipe. 

Once on the road, it pays to be wary of public Wi-Fi. “We know, especially if they’re traveling internationally, they’re going to be cautious about dipping into their data plan,” says Kaiser. “But they need to be extremely cautious when they do that. If they’re not on a secure network, one that requires a logon or password, then they have to be very careful transmitting any personal information or logging onto their accounts — anything that requires inputting a username and password.”

If a traveler is gong to be very dependent on their device, they may want to consider using a virtual private network (VPN). “This allows them to build a private tunnel inside a public Wi-Fi,” says Kaiser. 

Other quick tips? Manage the connection settings on your device, says Kaiser, turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they are not in use. This tactic prevents other networks from connecting to your device without your knowledge, and it can also save battery life. Additionally, never use public computers to log on to any personal accounts. 

Finally, Kaiser says travelers should be careful what they post on social media. “There have been instances where people have seen that people are away and break into their house. Also, just from a reputation standpoint, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandparent or employer to see.”

Keep visiting for the latest Millennial travel news, trends and updates.