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Millennials becoming known as Generation Leaky

Taylor Armerding | Feb. 18, 2015
Millennials, by some accounts, have plenty of tech savvy but not much when it comes to security. What should your organisation do about that?

Avanessian added that today's digital workers like applications that are, "sleek, intuitive, and have the same look and feel as products they're already familiar with. This is why we see many employees using platforms such as Dropbox or Skype for business purposes. But these kinds of applications were largely designed with the consumer in mind not for the business professional who might be handling sensitive content."

That extends to devices, according to Raj Dodhiawala, senior vice president and general manager at Mantech Cyber Solutions International. "I know Millennials who want to use their personal devices at work because they are more powerful and capable than standard issue desktops," he said.

Ignorance isn't bliss
Dominique Singer, principal of Security Solutions Architecture at Hexis Cyber Solutions, contends that Millennials are poor at security not because they don't care, but because they don't know enough to care.

"They have grown up in a world of data everywhere' and information everywhere,'" he said, "and have been conditioned to expect easy access to any kind of data, especially social media. They haven't been conditioned, or even slightly educated, on the importance of protecting their data."

[ How security smart is Generation Y? ]

Dodhiawala added that while Millennials do care about protecting their data, "they just don't have a good sense for what constitutes private, personal or sensitive data.

"Putting their date of birth on Facebook is considered routine, for example," he said. "Intuitively, they share first, and protect minimally."

A matter of trust
Millennials tend to trust technology more than they should, according to Bain. "They just have implicit trust in apps, carriers and the devices they use, that anything they do or say is protected. They are 99% blind to the growing threatscape," he said.

Pushing for privileges
Along with the expectation of instant communication comes the expectation of easy access. Avanessian said Millennials have grown up in an online world where access was always easy and immediate, and bring those expectations to the workplace, in the form of demands for elevated privileges.

"We conducted a survey a couple years ago that found that male employees between the ages of 25 to 35 years old were most likely to demand elevated rights," he said.

And while that may improve productivity, "the problem is that it gives users the ability to make system tweaks or unauthorized application downloads. This significantly increases the potential for malware to invade the system and open the entire corporate network up to vulnerability," he said.

While there is little disagreement that Millennials exhibit those vulnerabilities, other experts say they are not alone that older workers can be just as bad.


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