Millennial Travelers More Vulnerable to Cybersecurity Attacks than Boomers According to New Webroot Survey

Results Highlight Need for Increased Awareness among Both Groups

BROOMFIELD, CO. - May 25, 2016

A new study reveals that while 95 percent of baby boomers and 85 percent of millennials in the U.S. are concerned with their personal online security, baby boomers are taking more steps to secure their mobile devices. Commissioned by Webroot, the market leader in next-generation endpoint security and cloud-based collective threat intelligence, the research indicates baby boomers are taking more preventive actions to secure their data when on the go, while millennials are less diligent.

Unsafe Travel Practices

While the overwhelming majority of millennials said they want more security and data privacy, almost two thirds (59 percent) share their personal travel plans on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. By contrast, 71 percent of baby boomers reported that they never share personal travel plans on social media.

Lost and Found

Differences in traveler security behavior extended to mobile device loss. While only seven percent of baby boomers reported losing a mobile device during travel in the past year, almost three times as many millennials (19 percent) reported losing a device. Both groups most often lose their devices in restaurants, cafes and bars.

Data Privacy and Security

Despite a reputation for being less tech savvy than millennials, 49 percent of boomers reported they have antivirus solutions installed on their devices – 10 percent more than millennials (39 percent). When asked what types of personal information they would be most concerned about if a mobile device was lost, both millennials and boomers (79 percent each) picked banking or credit card account information as their top choice. This was 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 boomers.

“While millennials and boomers are not that different in terms of privacy concerns, millennials are not following through with some straightforward strategies to achieve the security they want,” said Grayson Milbourne, security intelligence director at Webroot. “In fact, 88 percent of millennials are still connecting to free public Wi-Fi when traveling compared to only 32 percent of boomers. Millennials represent the first ‘always connected’ generation, and it appears their use of mobile devices has become so ingrained in the way they live and work that they are not always taking the necessary steps to secure their most valuable information.”

What Can Travelers Do?

Travelers should adopt a few simple strategies to ensure devices and information are secure while on the road:

  • If you plan to bring it, back it up. Backing up mobile devices is an important defensive measure in recovering from attacks by cybercriminals or device loss while traveling.
  • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Make sure that antivirus software is installed on mobile devices and that the subscription is current.
  • Avoid free public Wi-Fi. Cybercriminals are known to create ad-hoc networks that look like free internet, but actually launch a “man in the middle” attack. It’s best to stick to secure networks when traveling.
  • Keep devices with you at all times. Be aware of where mobile devices are, as they are hot targets for theft.
  • Use a password. Lock mobile devices to ensure data remains secure.
  • Use good judgement. Be extra vigilant about the websites visited, the URLs followed and the applications and mobile apps used.


The survey was commissioned by Webroot and conducted in May of 2016, polling 201 millennials and 204 baby boomers in the U.S. using an email invitation and an online survey. The survey represents millennials’ and baby boomers’ cybersecurity practices. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.

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