Protect Your Valuable Information During Spring Break

March 5, 2024

Spring Break is Peak Opportunity for Cybercriminals

Spring Break Travel Teaser Image

This year, 30% of Americans have plans to travel for spring break with their families, and international flights are up 20% compared to last year. The spring semester often means moving strategies into action and really setting the foundation for ending the school year with success. 

This season of R&R is unfortunately an opportune time for hackers, schemers, and generally dishonest people. It is a common assumption that when families are travelling, their homes will be vacant and all their prized tools of communication holding secure information will be on them at time of travel. This assumption allows for criminals to plan cybersecurity attacks during spring break. 

Last April, Ransomware enthusiasts, BlackCat, took credit for a wave of cyberattacks during North Caroline A&T State University’s spring break. The attack disrupted apps, systems, and processes in place used for online classes, single sign-on websites, and virtual private networks. 

Online disruptors will strategically attack at times that are low-activity, such as spring break, to enhance their chances of sliding past the immense visibility these attacks would garner during a higher attended time of the year. Even during times of rest and vacation, if you receive any kind of email, odd-looking notice, error messages that are unique, or communications with misspellings, report and block these, as there’s potential for cyberattacks to make their way through during this time. 

Aside from the risks during spring break with security systems, the potential of theft is high while traveling through the airport. There are some recommendations to make sure you and your information is protected:

  • Travel light – If you don’t need it, leave it at home! 
  • Travel with “clean” devices: If your department cannot lend you a device, remove any sensitive data from your devices. 

Teresa Banks, Manager of the Information Security and Compliance Programs team uses an analogy to describe why preparation for travel is so important. “Approach travel the way you would approach painting a room in your house. If you do a good job with the prep (putting down drop cloths, using masking tape, taking off outlet covers, etc.) the painting and cleanup goes very quickly. If not -- oh, my, you could have a mess.”

We recognize the high potential for cybercrime is a scary concept, but our friends within the Information Security & Compliance Program team have dedicated themselves and their expertise to educating UITS and creating trainings to best support safe travel among employees and their families. You’re invited to further arm yourselves with best practices to keep you and your loved ones safest during your times of rest with the below article and training. 


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