When it comes to online savvy, a new survey by a cybersecurity firm says younger equals brasher, but older doesn’t equal safer.
Consumers aged 45 and over are more cautious than younger Internet users about sharing information, according to recent consumer surveys from Kaspersky Lab.
However, the firm, says that even as those aged 24 and under are more willing to reveal information about themselves online and take fewer steps to protect themselves, they understand potential threats better and can recognise them more easily.
On the other hand, despite not revealing too much about themselves, the older ones (45 and above) can lack the knowledge to spot a damaging scam or imminent threat.
The research found that for younger people, sharing data online is an everyday occurrence, with 8 out of 10 (83 per cent) undertaking private messaging online, compared to just half (53 per cent) of the over-45s.
Three times as many young people admit to sharing explicit content online at least once: 23 per cent compared to 7 per cent.
Check your own level of cyber-savviness here: https://blog.kaspersky.com/cyber-savvy-quiz/
According to the cybersecurity firm, the younger generation is more impatient when it comes to installing software and downloading files.
Who reads the fineprint
More than a quarter (26 per cent) say they skip through the details of terms and conditions when installing software. This could mean that they don’t know what kind of data they have just granted access to, what additional programs they might have installed or how their OS settings could have been changed.
On the other hand, just 12 per cent of the over-45s ignore the small print.
Younger people also exhibit less care when downloading files, with one in three (31 per cent) downloading files from different sources, compared to 10 per cent of more mature users.
One in four (24 per cent) of those aged 24 or younger would disable their security solution if it tried to prevent them installing a piece software; something only 13 per cent of the older respondents would do.
Advantage digital natives
According to the Kaspersky Lab research, when presented with a potential threat, younger people are more experienced at spotting malware. When asked to download a song from four samples, one in three young people (30 per cent) chose the most dangerous ‘.exe’ file, compared to almost half (42 per cent) of those aged over 45. The safe, ‘.wma’ option was selected by just one in five of the older users, but 29 per cent of the younger ones.
It is not surprising that in the light of their less restrained online behaviour, younger people are more likely to find themselves hit by a malware infection.
More than half (57 per cent) of under 24s were affected in 2015, compared to one-third (34 per cent) of older users.
Due to their lack of experience with online risk, older victims of malware were more likely to say they didn’t understand how they had become infected: 17 per cent compared to just 10 per cent of the under 24s.
“While it is clear that more mature Internet users are likely to take fewer risks with their personal information online; when confronted with a cyber-threat they are less cyber-savvy about identifying and dealing with it,” said David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
“There is no substitute for having a strong digital protection instinct. It is important that users of all ages are cautious and vigilant online and aware of the potential threats, regardless of how often they use the Internet and what they use it for. People should also have a security solution in place that provides them with total protection when downloading and installing files and communicating online,” he said.
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