University of Phoenix Survey Shows Convenience Outweighs Cybersecurity Fears for Majority of Americans

Cybersecurity expert offers tips to stay secure online while wrapping
up this holiday shopping season

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–University of Phoenix today announced results from its cybersecurity
survey that found that 52 percent of U.S. adults are willing to overlook
cybersecurity risks for the sake of convenience, which could negatively
affect online shoppers as the close of this holiday season approaches.
According to the survey, most respondents (60 percent) using unsecure,
open Wi-Fi networks don’t trust them with the security of their data,
yet the convenience of using the unsecured network outweighed any
potential risk.

“Millions of Americans are finishing up their holiday shopping looking
for last minute deals online to make sure the perfect gift arrives in
time,” said Dr. Kirsten Hoyt, academic dean, University of Phoenix
College of Information Systems and Technology.1 “Despite the
fact that public networks are vulnerable to security breaches and
hacking, the data from our survey suggests people have fairly
comfortable attitudes toward using them—perhaps a little too

Additional survey findings include:

  • 80 percent of respondents reported they connect to public Wi-Fi
    networks at least once a week.
  • 61 percent of respondents indicated they use internet devices, such as
    cell phones, laptops or tablets, on public networks daily.
  • 39 percent of respondents state they trust public Wi-Fi.
  • 26 percent of respondents state they strongly agree that there is no
    real difference between secured and unsecured networks.

A wireless network is considered unsecured when it does not have
barriers in place, such as firewalls or passwords, to protect personal
information. They are not as secure in protecting data as a home or work
network,2 which could be particularly risky when online users
enter credit card and other personal information. Twenty-eight percent
of 18-to-34-year-olds shop regularly on unsecured networks, putting
financial and personal information at even greater risk, according to
the survey, which was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the
University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology.

To help keep personal cybersecurity top of mind this holiday season, Dr.
Hoyt suggests the following simple practices to keep information secure
while shopping online:

  1. Before providing any personal information to a retailer, make sure you
    verify how your information will be used and stored.
  2. Be cautious about clicking on links or opening attachments in emails
    from people you do not know. Emails may contain malware that will
    allow cybercriminals to steal information and hack devices.
  3. Ensure that your devices are secure and their protection is up to
    date. Install anti-virus software and set your operating system
    software to automatically download new security patches as they become
  4. Be alert for fake websites, and do not share any personal or financial
    information with a website you do not trust. Stick to familiar
    websites when shopping online. If you have to use an unfamiliar
    website, check the web domain on or

“It’s even easier than you think to have personal information hacked
online, but there are steps you can take to help protect yourself,” Dr.
Hoyt said. “The holiday season should be filled with joy, and taking the
proper precautions to safely shop online can help make sure you have a
happy holiday and that the gifts you have ordered arrive and arrive on

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris
Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between Sept. 21-30, 2016, among
2,235 U.S. adults aged 18 and older who use a mobile device on a network
other than in their own home or at a workplace. For the purposes of this
report, qualified respondents will be referred to as “rogue Wi-Fi”
users. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables,
please contact Cooper Nelson at

1. National Retail Federation
2. Definition by Microsoft:

About College of Information Systems and Technology

University of Phoenix® College of Information Systems and Technology is
a leader and advocate for the development and advancement of IT in
global business operations. The College offers associate, bachelor’s,
master’s and doctoral degree programs. Its Faculty Advisory Council,
composed of experts and leaders in the field, helps ensure curriculum is
on pace with national and international market demands. Providing
innovative digital learning tools developed to suit all learning styles,
the College focuses on building technical knowledge and its successful
application to real-world business environments. For more information,

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults
move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world.
Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive
learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal
aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo
Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:
), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population,
offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs
from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online
throughout the world. For more information, visit


University of Phoenix
Cooper Nelson, 602-557-8646