Trust in Security Low Among ‘Digital Natives’ – Report

New research from identity and credential management vendor Intercede reveals that 16- to 35-year-olds have low faith in the security of their online identities.

Fewer than 5% of 2000 UK and US such people interviewed have complete trust in the existing safeguards designed to protect their digital identities and personal data.

This age group also believes that the increasing reliance on connectivity will cause an escalation in the threat to personal data and identities. Almost 70% of the sample believed that the threat from cybercrime will grow either somewhat or dramatically as more and more aspects of our daily lives are digitized.

Furthermore, it appears the generation often dubbed ‘digital natives’ expects that the failure of companies and governments to adequately protect the personal data of consumers and citizens will trigger a series of dramatic and adverse effects. These include public distrust of goods and services (55%); public uprising (39%); and a decline in data sharing (44%).

A significant portion (22%) even expects economic instability to ensue if cybercrime and fraud continues unabated – while 12% predict international political instability could follow.

Fears around identity theft online are not, it appears, spurring better password practice among today’s young adults. A quarter of the survey sample log-in to 20 password-protected websites, applications or devices a year, but under half (45%) say they only change passwords when forced to. Just fewer than 6% believe their data is completely safe from unauthorized access based on their personal policy around passwords.

Responding to the trends, Lubna Dajani, a communications technology expert said: “Today’s Millennials have been digitally spoon-fed since birth, yet a general malaise is brewing among this demographic in terms of how safe their online data really is.

“Millennials understand their personal information is a form of currency they need to part with to access online services. Yet they participate in this ‘digital trade-off’ in the belief that more can be done to protect their privacy. Millennials want more control over who should be able to access their information; businesses and governments should urgently review current security protocols, or risk the potential to drive innovation and growth.”

While Intercede’s research highlights a certain pessimism or concern among Millennials about security and privacy of their personal data, this age group is often singled out for its recklessness around online security.

Recent research about mobile use abroad found that just 6% of UK 18-24 year-olds had a security solution installed on their smartphone.

A Checkpoint survey from 2012, meanwhile, found that just 22% of ‘Generation Y’ respondents even had basic security solutions installed on their personal computers. 

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