Why millennials are worried about ineffective online security

Why millennials are worried about ineffective online...In an increasingly digital society, the issue of data protection is extremely important. While businesses have a responsibility to safeguard consumer and user information, recent high-profile hacks have drawn attention to the need to defend against cyber attacks at an individual level too.


A new report from Intercede has revealed that the younger generation are acutely aware of the risks to their digital security and the potential impacts of cyber crime.


The digital identity specialists polled UK and US millennials and discovered that less than five per cent of respondents believed that their online information was completely protected by effective safeguards, stressing the need for businesses and governments to pay more attention than ever to the issue.


As natives of the digital world, 70 per cent reported a fear that their online privacy will increase as society continues to become more digitally connected. This is especially pertinent considering the greater reliance on cloud computing and online data storage both individually and on a larger scale.


More than half (54 per cent) said the public will learn to distrust certain goods and services should businesses fail to implement better online security solutions to protect against current and future cyber threats.


With a major hack to an illicit dating website, Ashley Madison, just a couple of months ago, the public concerns over data storage and sharing are gaining much media attention. Such a site, which trades on keeping identities and dating motives a very private affair, has inadvertently leaked gigabytes of user data, drastically affecting consumer trust in web data storage and meaning personal information is now in the public sphere at the hands of cyber criminals.


The recent study, conducted by Atomik Research, questioned approximately 2,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 35 and indicated that there is general confusion as to how people can best safeguard their identity and data from hackers.


A quarter of millennials were found to use more than 20 password protected websites, devices or applications within a year, with only six per cent adding that they thought their data would be safeguarded based on the password they had chosen. Worryingly, 45 per cent of respondents said they only ever change it when they have to do so. This could be due to forgetting passwords or perhaps even as a result of a cyber hack into their account.


Passwords in particular can be an important defence against online data theft, with experts recommending that people use a different one for every account and to adopt a mix of letters and numbers, with upper and lower case letters to reduce the chances of hacking.


With fears over online security growing, 44 per cent of millennials questioned believed that there would be an eventual decline in data sharing, with 36 per cent revealing demands for action were likely.


Commenting on the data, Intercede chief executive Richard Parris called on businesses and governments to start paying more attention to online security and maintaining consumer trust through proactive cyber defence strategies.


Mr Parris said: “It’s time for organisations to stop playing fast and loose with what, in a digital economy, are our most important assets – our identity and our data. There seems to have been a collective consensus that millennials will accept substandard security in exchange for online services. This clearly isn’t the case.”


He went on to add that it wasn’t enough for data to be safeguarded by passwords and that organisations would have to look at more advanced online security solutions. “To restore trust, smart companies need to look to stronger authentication techniques to ensure the future of digital commerce and information exchange and their own competitive edge.”


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