Younger Generations May Be Overconfident About Cybersecurity, Survey Suggests

Younger Generations May Be Overconfident About Cybersecurity, Survey Suggests

People who belong to Generation Z may be overconfident about their online account security, suggests a recent survey commissioned by Google

Users who belong to Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) may be overconfident about their online account security practices, suggests a recent survey commissioned by Google.

According to a recent Harris Poll, which surveyed 3,000 adults in the United States, 78 percent of Gen Z respondents said they use the same password for multiple online accounts. Of all users surveyed, 52 percent said they reused the same password for multiple (but not all) accounts, with only 13 percent reusing the same password everywhere.

Reusing a username/password combination across multiple accounts is can lead to credential stuffing, a practice in which hackers use breached username or email/password combinations to hack into accounts where the user may have recycled passwords.

"Younger users are digital natives; they don’t remember a time without smartphones," Emily Schechter, a product manager for Chrome Security at Google, told Mashable. "I think this must be super influential to how they think about technology and security."

As for Baby Boomers (those 50 years and older), only 60 percent of those users said they reused a password on multiple accounts, while 67 percent of 25-49-year-olds did the same.

Of Gen Z respondents, 71 percent said they wouldn’t fall prey to a phishing scam, but only 44 percent of respondents said they knew what the term “phishing” means. Boomers and 25 49 year-olds responded as more confident that they wouldn’t get phished, and more of them said they understood the term.

When asked about two-step verification, 76 percent of Gen Z respondents said they used it, with 25-49 year olds a close second at 74 percent. Baby Boomers came in third, with 62 percent of respondents using two-factor authentication to boost their account security.

The report identified four tips users can follow to strengthen the security of their online accounts:

  • Set up recover phone number/email address
  • Use unique passwords for your accounts
  • Keep software up to date
  • Set up two-factor authentication

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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