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Attitudes to cybercrime vary across the generational divide

The younger generation is more concerned about the theft of personal photos and videos.

A teacher using laptop as part of a workshop for school children. Image by Astrid Lomholt. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
A teacher using laptop as part of a workshop for school children. Image by Astrid Lomholt. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

New study reveals that most people living in the UK consider identity theft and financial cybercrimes as the most dangerous. However, beyond this broad headline there are some variances between generations.

Most Internet users are concerned about the theft of their bank credentials or payment card information (68 percent) and theft of identity and national insurance numbers (46 percent), according to a survey commissioned by NordVPN. While these two types of cybercrimes raise the most significant concerns among all age groups, attitudes towards other common cyber fears have divided Internet users of different generations.

“Cybersecurity fears are heavily influenced by the different ways generations perceive and use technology, personal experiences, and historical context, among other factors. Thus, a generational gap in the perception of dangers online is unavoidable,” Marijus Briedis, CTO at NordVPN tells Digital Journal.

Young generations are concerned about theft of personal photos, older generations – malware

The research reveals that the younger generation is more concerned about the theft of personal photos and videos. They are also worried that hackers could take over their webcam and CCTV.

While 29 percent of millennials and 28 percent of Gen Zers mention the theft of personal pictures or videos as one of the biggest dangers, only about 12 percent of Baby Boomers and 9 percent of the so-called silent generation have the same opinion. At the same time, Generation Z are more concerned about hacked webcams and CCTVs (35 percent), while it’s not considered to be as much of a severe issue among baby boomers (10 percent) and the silent generation (11 percent).

Apart from theft of identity or bank credentials and payment card information, the biggest concern for the older generations (68 percent of silent generation and 59 percent of baby boomers) is infecting devices with viruses or other malware. In comparison, only 36 percent of Generation Z and 31 percent of millennials mention it among the top cyber threats.

Older generations are concerned about losing files but not health information

The survey further reveals a tangible generation gap regarding attitudes towards losing access to the computer and files on the computer. While 59 percent of the silent generation and 44% of baby boomers in the United Kingdom mentioned loss of computer and files on it due to cyberattack among the most worrying cybercrimes, only 24 percent of Generation Z share the same attitude.

On the other hand, the younger generations are more concerned about the security of their personal health information. While 21 percent of Generation Z consider health information theft as one of the most dangerous cybercrimes, only 9 percent of baby boomers and the silent generation see it as a severe threat.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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