Lithe British youngsters prioritise fun over privacy and security

Merrily allow themselves to be slurped and probed


Silver surfers are more switched on about security than youngsters, even though the 18-25 age group are generally considered a more tech-savvy generation.

Young adults who have been around computers all their lives tend to prioritise entertainment and community over security and privacy, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 1,200 PC users, sponsored by Check Point Software, found that 50 per cent of 18-25 age group (Gen Y) respondents have had security issues in the past two years compared to less than half (42 per cent) of those from the group aged between 56- to 65-year-olds. Gen Y users had more security problems in spite of expressing greater (perhaps misplaced) confidence in their supposed security knowledge.

More than that 78 per cent of Gen Y respondents fail to follow security best practices. By comparison, those approaching retirement were twice as likely to protect their computers with additional security software (paid antivirus, third-party firewalls, or integrated security suites), according to results from The Generation Gap in Computer Security survey (PDF). This leaves their sensitive data – such as tax records, financial info, and online passwords – at a greater risk of attack.

Only 31 per cent of Gen Y respondents ranked security as the most important consideration when making decisions about their computers in comparison to 58 per cent of Baby Boomers (56- to 65-year-olds). Gen Y prioritised entertainment and community above security, the survey found. Young adults (45 per cent) are more likely than silver surfers to view security software as being "too expensive".

"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.

"Gen Y tends to prioritise 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."

Check Point recently launched ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall as a combined security suite. It also sells a range of paid-for products, principally but not exclusively to business, which means that the firm has a vested interest in highlighting consumer security mistakes. That doesn't mean it's wrong about tearaway young adults and lax security, however. ®

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Tim Hortons collected location data constantly, without consent, report finds
    Hortons hears a sue

    From May 2019 through August 2020, the mobile app published by multinational restaurant chain Tim Hortons surveilled customers constantly by gathering their location data without valid consent, according to a Canadian government investigation.

    In a report published Wednesday, Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) of Canada and the privacy commissioners from three provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec – presented the results of an inquiry that began shortly after the publication of a June 2020 National Post article.

    That article revealed the Tim Hortons app tracked location data every few minutes even when relegated to the background, and the report compiled by Canadian privacy officials confirmed as much.

    Continue reading
  • Never fear, the White House is here to tackle web trolls
    'No one should have to endure abuse just because they are attempting to participate in society'

    A US task force aims to prevent online harassment and abuse, with a specific focus on protecting women, girls and LGBTQI+ individuals.

    In the next 180 days, the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse will, among other things, draft a blueprint on a "whole-of-government approach" to stopping "technology-facilitated, gender-based violence." 

    A year after submitting the blueprint, the group will provide additional recommendations that federal and state agencies, service providers, technology companies, schools and other organisations should take to prevent online harassment, which VP Kamala Harris noted often spills over into physical violence, including self-harm and suicide for victims of cyberstalking as well mass shootings.

    Continue reading
  • Abortion rights: US senators seek ban on sale of health location data
    With Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, privacy is key

    A group of senators wants to make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.

    A bill filed this week by five senators, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), comes in anticipation the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling that could overturn the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing access to abortion for women in the US.

    The worry is that if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade – as is anticipated following the leak in May of a majority draft ruling authored by Justice Samuel Alito – such sensitive data can be used against women.

    Continue reading
  • Behind Big Tech's big privacy heist: Deliberate obfuscation
    You opted out, but you didn't uncheck the box on page 24, so your data's ours...

    Opinion "We value your privacy," say the pop-ups. Better believe it. That privacy, or rather taking it away, is worth half a trillion dollars a year to big tech and the rest of the digital advertising industry. That's around a third of a percent of global GDP, give or take wars and plagues. 

    You might expect such riches to be jealously guarded. Look at what those who "value your privacy" are doing to stop laws protecting it, what happens when a good law  gets through, and what they try to do to close it down afterwards. 

    The best result for big tech is if laws are absent or useless. The latest survey of big tech lobbying in the US reveals a flotilla of nearly 500 salespeople/lawyers touring the US state legislatures, trying to either draw up tech friendly legislation to insert into privacy bills, water then down through persuasion, or just keep them off the books.

    Continue reading
  • To cut off all nearby phones with these Chinese chips, this is the bug to exploit
    Android patches incoming for NAS-ty memory overwrite flaw

    A critical flaw in the LTE firmware of the fourth-largest smartphone chip biz in the world could be exploited over the air to block people's communications and deny services.

    The vulnerability in the baseband – or radio modem – of UNISOC's chipset was found by folks at Check Point Research who were looking for ways the silicon could be used to remotely attack devices. It turns out the flaw doesn't just apply to lower-end smartphones but some smart TVs, too.

    Check Point found attackers could transmit a specially designed radio packet to a nearby device to crash the firmware, ending that equipment's cellular connectivity, at least, presumably until it's rebooted. This would be achieved by broadcasting non-access stratum (NAS) messages over the air that when picked up and processed by UNISOC's firmware would end in a heap memory overwrite.

    Continue reading
  • Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google
    It'll ruin Gmail, claims web ads giant

    Google has a fresh list of reasons why it opposes tech antitrust legislation making its way through Congress but, like others who've expressed discontent, the ad giant's complaints leave out mention of portions of the proposed law that address said gripes.

    The law bill in question is S.2992, the Senate version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), which is closer than ever to getting votes in the House and Senate, which could see it advanced to President Biden's desk.

    AICOA prohibits tech companies above a certain size from favoring their own products and services over their competitors. It applies to businesses considered "critical trading partners," meaning the company controls access to a platform through which business users reach their customers. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta in one way or another seemingly fall under the scope of this US legislation. 

    Continue reading
  • Another VPN quits India, as government proposes social media censorship powers
    New Delhi now fighting criticism of eroding free speech and privacy with two proposed regulations

    India's tech-related policies continue to create controversy, with fresh objections raised to a pair of proposed regulation packages.

    One of those regulations is the infosec reporting and logging requirements introduced by India's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in late April. That package requires VPN, cloud, and numerous other IT services providers to collect customers' personal information and log their activity, then surrender that info to Indian authorities on demand. One VPN provider, ExpressVPN, last week quit India on grounds that its local servers are designed not to record any logs so compliance would be impossible. ExpressVPN will soon route customers' traffic outside India.

    On Tuesday, another VPN – Surfshark – announced it would do likewise.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022