A new ZoneAlarm report reveals differences in the use of computer security between Gen Y and Baby Boomers and the findings may surprise you.
The report, The Generation Gap in Computer Security, found that Gen Y is more confident in its security knowledge than Baby Boomers. However, 50 percent of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years compared to less-than-half of Baby Boomers.
The broad adoption of digital media and social networking, combined with the increasing amount of sensitive data that is stored online, is making personal computer security more important than ever before.
Yet the ZoneAlarm study reveals that 78 percent of Gen Y respondents do not follow security best practices while cybercriminals are launching new and more sophisticated attacks on consumers every day.
Baby boomers more concerned
In comparison, Baby Boomers are more concerned about security and privacy and twice more likely to protect their computers with additional security software.
“Growing up in the digital age, Gen Y may appear to be a more tech-savvy generation, but that does not translate into safer computer and online practices,” said Tomer Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies.
“The ZoneAlarm Study reveals that the most at risk group and prone to online security threats is Gen Y.”
“Gen Y tends to prioritize entertainment and community over security, perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge. For example, they’re more concerned about gaming or other social activities than their online security.
They also have less sophisticated security software, and hence, have reported more security problems than other groups, such as Baby Boomers.”
Key Findings from the Report:
- Computer Security Increases in Priority with Age - Only 31 percent of Gen Y rank security as the most important consideration when making decision about their computers in comparison to 58 percent of Baby Boomers. Gen Y prioritizes entertainment and community above security.
- Gen Y is overconfident in its Security Knowledge - Gen Y (63 percent) claims to be more knowledgeable about security when compared to Baby Boomers (59 percent). However, half of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years in comparison to less than half (42 percent) of Baby Boomers.
- Gen Y has Less Sophisticated Security Due to Cost and Technical Barriers - Gen Y respondents are less likely to use paid antivirus, 3rd-party firewalls, or integrated security suites than Baby Boomers. Gen Y (45 percent) view security software as too expensive in comparison to Baby Boomers (37 percent).
- Sensitive Data is Stored on Computers, Yet Most Do Not Follow Security Best Practices - 84 percent of people keep sensitive data, such as tax records, financial info, and passwords, on their computers. However, most users (71 percent), especially Gen Y (78 percent), do not follow security best practices.
“Financial fraud is one of the main driving factors for cybercriminals these days. They are targeting consumers and not just looking to hack into one computer. They seek to use their victims’ PCs to spread attacks and infiltrate a whole community, including family, friends and work,” said Bari Abdul, VP and Head of Check Point’s Consumer Business, ZoneAlarm.
“Online attacks spread rapidly now that we’re connected more than ever before through social media. It is imperative that consumers, especially Gen Y, adopt security best practices, and protect their computers with adequate security, which includes at a minimum antivirus and a two-way firewall.”
Here at the TechJournal, we noticed that in recent comparisons, Zone Alarm’s free antivirus and firewall software did better than both Norton and McAfee’s paid products in blocking malware.
We recently uninstalled the version of McAfee’s antivirus that Time-Warner provides free with its Internet service because it allowed far too many spyware and adware programs to clog our computer and it was not compatible with other programs that actually block many of them such as Spybot or Spyware Blaster.
We replaced the McAfee program with various free programs that are already doing a much better job, including Zone Alarm’s firewall, which we’ve used off and on since 2000.
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