Millennials at high risk for a data breach

Reading the results of a survey conducted by Webroot, it’s pretty remarkable to learn that despite their peerless levels of tech savvy, millennials score lower on security than an older generation like the Baby Boomers.  The data speaks to familiar experience, however, when I think about it.  Multiple times have I seen friends and family post travel information on social media: well, according to the research, they are part of a healthy 59% who do so.  Contrast this with the 71% of boomers who don’t, and you can immediately see a difference in secure practices.  Likewise for the disparity between the 33% of millennials and 53% of boomers, revealed by a Gigya survey, who make sure their passwords are a step above “1234” or personally identifiable information.  As a result, it’s little surprise that of those who had experienced a breach, the ratio of millennials to boomers was 35% : 18%.

The only surprise is that a group of people with perhaps more technical familiarity and know-how than any other would display less caution when it comes to their sensitive information.  Then again, I just read that today’s teens have formed complex hierarchies and bizarre ‘Like’-based social economies around platforms like Instagram, so I guess anything is possible.  The mentality these days is to always be “connected,” and it is to this that the surveys attribute their findings.  According to Craig Lund, CEO of SecureAuth, “Millennials have grown up so connected to so many social media sites that it doesn’t occur to them that there is danger there that they’re giving out info, and their preference for being connected is more important to them than their potential for risk.”

And while I’m not here to change this mentality, there are keys to changing behavior and adopting safer information security habits: education, of course, following the news, or experiencing a breach for oneself.  Putting aside these studies for a minute, another, from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, shows that many people are taking the cyber lessons of the day to heart, and altering their activities amid security concerns.  84% of the 41,000 respondents surveyed expressed at least one major concern about privacy and security, including identity theft and credit card fraud.  According to the study, these perceived risks have made a number of households, especially those who have suffered a data breach, reduce their online activities to a degree, from financial transactions to social media posts.

Clearly, the constant breaches involving people’s data has people taking notice of the risks of their Internet habits, and adjusting them as they see fit.  Ultimately, every generation has information whose compromise will provide major headaches down the road, so don’t be too laissez-faire about it.


By: Jonathan Weicher, post on May 27, 2016
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Copyright: NetLib