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Millennials sceptical of security and less savvy than baby-boomers

George Nott | Aug. 23, 2016
The survey by IT security firm ESET covered more than 1,300 online users across Australia and New Zealand

Millennials are less cyber security savvy than baby-boomers at home and at work, according to a survey.

Nearly half of 18 to 24 year olds keep the same password for all their accounts on personal devices compared with a fifth of those aged 55 and over and just over a quarter of millennials use the same password for all of their work accounts compared to just 8 per cent of baby-boomers.

The survey of more than 1,300 online users across Australia and New Zealand by IT security firm ESET, also found that almost three-quarters of millennials are signed into accounts at all times on their personal devices, compared to about half of the older age group. While 40 per cent of millennials stated they would accept any social media request, only 17 per cent of the baby-boomer group did.

“While some may be surprised by this finding, it is in line with similar research we have conducted in other markets throughout APAC,” said Nick FitzGerald, ESET's senior research fellow.

“Millennials are the first generation of ‘digital natives’ and with that, they have developed a level of scepticism both around the security and privacy of their online activities as well as, crucially, to their ability to control that.

“Feeling unable to improve their own security and privacy, many seem to just accept the situation, and rarely bother with the hassles of changing their behaviour.”

Millennials were far more likely to report that they use public Wi-Fi when available, allow credit card details to be stored on regularly used websites and download videos from non-official sources, than the baby-boomers group.

Baby-boomers were generally more wary of sharing and saving their personal data online, and more likely than the millennial respondents to believe it wasn’t safe to save personal details on a web browser, mobile app or social media.

“Millennials too often overlook the major risks with personal safety and data security, instead prioritising ease of use and increasing accessibility,” said FitzGerald.

“It is good to see baby-boomers are taking extra care to protect their personal information. There’s a common misconception that older generations are less tech-savvy than younger generations, but our findings actually show that when it comes to safety, baby-boomers are much savvier than millennials.”

A recent online survey of more than 1000 Australians commissioned by Nitro found that young people are more likely to forget passwords, lose digital documents and get distracted from their work by Facebook than older generations.


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