Baby Boomers more savvy about computer security that digital natives

A disturbing 78% of Gen Y respondents did not follow security best practices, the Check Point survey of 1,245 PC users in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia found.

In comparison, Baby Boomers were more concerned about security and privacy and twice as likely to protect their computers with additional security software.

Only 31% of Gen Y respondents ranked security as the most important consideration when making decisions about their computers, in comparison to 58% of Baby Boomers. Gen Y put entertainment and community above security in their decision making.

The survey found that Gen Y (63%) respondents claimed to be more knowledgeable about security when compared to Baby Boomers (59%). However, half of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years, in comparison to less than half (42%) of Baby Boomers.

“Gen Y has a false sense of online security”, observed Bari Abdul, head of Check Point's consumer business, ZoneAlarm. “This is interesting given that Gen Y are digital natives; they are very text savvy, and they are very active online. We expected them to understand security…but they are not as savvy about security as Baby Boomers”, he told Infosecurity.

Only 22% of Gen Y respondents had put basic security on their computers, which means having a firewall and anti-virus software, Abdul noted.

Gen Y respondents were less likely to use paid anti-virus, third-party firewalls, or integrated security suites than Baby Boomers. Gen Y (45%) viewed security software as too expensive in comparison to Baby Boomers (37%).

A full 84% of all respondents kept sensitive data, such as tax records, financial info, and passwords, on their computers, but a full 71% did not follow security best practices.

“Gen Y is entering the workforce, and there is a risk that they might bring in malware from their home computers to their workplace….Plus the risk they bring to their online communities is high”, Abdul said.

“CIOs should be aware of the security habits and practices of Gen Y and offer more security awareness programs in the workplace”, he concluded.

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