Children are putting themselves at risk – not just now but decades into the future – by not knowing enough about cyber security. That’s the message which says more needs to be done to teach ‘Gen-Z’ (aged 18 and under) about staying safe online.
It comes as new research shows that Gen-Z is the least clued up when it comes to cyber security, less so than their millennial peers and even their baby boomer grandparents.
A report by Webroot shows that baby boomers, typically aged 54 to 72, know the most about staying safe online, with 57 per cent using a different password for each account and 50 per cent knowing what ransomware is. Just 34 per cent of millennials, typically aged between 19 and 38, knew what ransomware was and less than a quarter (24 per cent) of ‘Gen-Z’ knew.
Gen-Z was found to be the most likely to pay for the return of stolen data and 57 per cent that have clicked on a link from an unknown sender have also either been a ransomware attack victim or know one.
Nigel Taylor, managing director of Taylor Made, says “more needs to be done to educate youngsters about cyber security. Sadly I can see why the youngest age group is the least cybersecurity-aware. They’ve grown up in this digital era and have the least to lose from a financial and intellectual property perspective.
“They are however the most vulnerable and, by association, anyone sharing devices with them in the home, school and work is also exposed to that risk.”
Nigel adds that the risks aren’t always immediate. “By not being safe today they are essentially storing up ammunition for hackers to use against them at a later date, when their wealth or information bank is more valuable. Examples of this range from weak and unprotected password use through to inappropriate selfies that can be used against them when they are older and possibly in more influential or important roles in society or work. The inappropriate selfies taken at 17 years old may come back to haunt them and maybe even damage them in their twenties.”
Nigel concludes: “It is critical we educate people of all ages so they fully understand the consequences of their actions. It begins at home and at school, and then should be reinforced as a very high priority when they enter the workplace, when they become more responsible for the protection of other people’s data and security.”
For resources on staying safe online visit www.tmcs.co.uk