Norton Report Shows Why Many Younger Consumers are Online Security Risks

The results of the 2016 Norton Cyber Security Report appear to indicate that although the younger generation (those born on the millennial years) spend much of their time in the online world, they are more likely to leave themselves open to security threats than their elders.

Should We Be Really Surprised?

With consumers globally spending an average of 21 hours and $358 per person over the last year dealing with online crime we certainly shouldn’t be surprised the fact that is a serious risk.

Recent high profile and costly security breaches such as TalkTalk’s should remind us all too that many aspects of our online business are also valuable targets to cyber criminals.

Interestingly, the Norton Survey also revealed something of the dread employees feel about the problems caused by online security failures as 63% aid they would rather go on a bad date than have to deal with customer service after a security breach!

We may also generally assume too that the Norton figures simply reveal the more cautious and risk-averse behaviour that we would associate with advancing years and greater life experience.

What is really surprising is that although millenials appear to be the most teach-savvy generation and they have been exposed to widespread, high profile reports of cyber crime throughout their lives (it’s a relatively new idea to older people), they appear to have a blind spot in this area.

Why Are Millenials More Vulnerable?

1. They Take Greater Risks With Passwords

32 % of millennials in the UK share their passwords for online services compared to 13 % of baby boomers. Also, only 33% of millennials said they always use a secure password (the 8 character letter and number mix) compared to 49% of baby boomers.

2. They FEEL Less Vulnerable Despite Evidence to the Contrary

The Norton Security Report showed that one in three millennials reportedly felt that security breaches no longer have any real consequences, and one in five felt like their chances of being compromised by cyber crime was negligible. All of this despite the fact that 31% of millennials have reported being victims of cyber crime, a higher rate than older generations. This apparent attitude of not needing to be concerned about cyber crime threats could therefore be the cause of the higher crime victim figures among this group.

The Messages For Businesses

The messages for businesses from this survey could be that:

  • Millenials are old enough to be conducting business as well as socialising online therefore employers should not assume that younger members of staff don’t need to be briefed and made aware of how to work in a secure way online, and a way that protects the organisation, its resources, its customers, and its reputation. Taken to its extremes these figures could be used to suggest that younger employees may need more reminders, briefings and information about safe online working and compliance than their older colleagues.

  • Younger online customers could be more likely to be the source of some kinds of security breaches that could have a negative impact on the operation of a business, and could be less likely to take responsibility for the results of security breaches. For example, nearly half of the millennials surveyed rely on credit card companies to protect them after a hack.

Muddled Perception of Risk…

One last interesting finding of the Norton Report appears to be a strange and some would say muddled perception of risks in the online world compared to the ‘real’ world for consumers as a whole. 51% of U.S consumers in this survey indicated that they thought that storing their credit/banking information in the cloud was riskier than not wearing a seatbelt!