Question – Millennials are being hit harder by cybercrime than any other generation. Why is that ?
Though stealing someone’s identity is illegal, there are plenty of sneaky but legal tactics scammers and hackers employ that can expose you to identity theft as well. The first step in preventing this distressing scenario is being aware of the more common data collection schemes used to leave you vulnerable.
The millennials are among those groups of people who are most adversely impacted by cybercrime. Data seems to point to poor awareness of basic security habits as the main reason millennials have been hit so hard. To mention just a few of their poor security habits, members of this generation tend to be CARELESS with credentials, as well as visiting unsecure websites and performing transactions over public and unsecured Wi-Fi networks especially in unsuspected areas like Coffee stations, Airports, Malls etc.
Lack of familiarity with standard security measures and obsession with the internet could be the reasons millennials tend to be so reckless with their browsing habits. It seems that the sudden improvement in internet browsing experience and surge in online transactions and mobile apps (which are less secure) have also partly contributed to the reckless behavior. Improved awareness is probably the only solution to the problem. With cyberattacks on the rise in terms of both volume and variety, millennials could be sitting ducks.
- A survey of fraud victims by internet firm found that millennials are more likely to fall victim to online scams than those 55 or older.
- They also found that 10 percent of millennials fell victim to phishing and other cyberscams in 2017. Those millennials lost £612 ($856) on average.
- Media Smarts, a public-private partnership which promotes digital and media literacy, surveyed people to find that more than one-third of millennials did not believe that schools and colleges had been providing adequate training in cybersecurity best practices.
- Millennials tend to use weak or commonly used passwords that can be easily guessed. As a result, the systems or accounts can be easily breached. Another dangerous practice followed by millennials is sharing of passwords.
So, Why Are Millennials so Vulnerable?
The millennials are part of a unique generation that straddles two different eras in terms of access to technology. When they were born, the internet was probably at a nascent stage, accessible to only a few. By the time they attained adulthood, or were maybe in their mid-30s, access to the internet was considered a necessity. This can probably explain, to an extent, the careless attitude of millennials towards online browsing.
It is interesting that the millennials would behave the way they do, when it comes to online transactions. It seems that there are two ways they can make themselves more secure against cybercrimes. One, over time, they learn from their mistakes and become smarter about online security.
Also, they will have the examples of their succeeding generations, who are probably savvier as far as online transactions are concerned. Two, there needs to be a greater emphasis on awareness toward secure online transactions.
The initiatives need to come from different levels: government, schools and other educational institutions. However, improvement in online behavior is going to take a long time because it is basically a cultural and mindset issue.
Until then, millennials represent an easy target for cybercriminals because on a retail basis, it offers the lure of easy money for the cybercriminals.