#Asia Digital natives, much? Millennials are not as cyber-safe as they are cyber-savvy

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Don’t be complacent with your digital security

Bored? Internet. Sad? Internet. Need to show the world the gastronomical meal you just had? Internet.

Whatever the occasion or mood, we are always on the internet. So much that it has become second nature to most of us to pick up our phones or switch on our computers, and scroll through that black hole of a feed. And it is almost impossible to stop.

With that much time dedicated online, it almost comes as a no-brainer for us to be wary of our security and safety online.

Despite this, Singapore’s millennials (between 20 to 36 years old as of 2017), who are digital natives born and raised during the digital era, have proven to be the most vulnerable online – and surprisingly, more so than Baby Boomers.

A survey conducted by four Nanyang Technological University (NTU) final-year students of over 415 Internet users in Singapore between 18 to 65 years old found that millennials – who make up the bulk of Internet users in Singapore, had the poorest basic cyber hygiene.

According to the survey, only a third of millennials (32.6 per cent) use different passwords across their online accounts and, 36.2 per cent activate multi-factor authentication (MFA) for access to their online accounts. This is a cause for concern, given how easy they are making it for online criminals to steal their information over the internet.

It seems that millennials are setting up a weak defence for themselves online right from the get-go.

The survey also highlighted that millennials are rather complacent about their online security as 9 in 10 millennials agreed that the consequences of cyber crime are harmful but are not adopting safe cyber habits.

Also Read: Why you need to talk to your team about data security

This finding echoed the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report (2015), which found that 37 per cent of millennials felt that they are not “interesting enough” to be a target of online crime. Yet, 52 per cent of them have experienced an online crime.

The same NTU students conducted four focus group discussions among 25 millennials and almost all of them shared a similar sentiment: “I am not rich or famous enough to be compromised online, and I will only take action when it happens to me.”

However, the fact is that cyber crime does not discriminate. Everyone has something on the Internet that is of value to an online criminal.

Another blemish in millennials’ attitude towards cyber security was highlighted during the discussions: They felt that the older generation, namely their parents, needed more help with improving their cyber hygiene, as they lacked digital literacy.

It seems that ‘generation gap’ has affected millennials’ behaviour towards cyber security. Just because they grew up with the internet, millennials feel that they are more digitally literate and safer online. Yet, statistics have proven otherwise.

So how can this increasingly smart nation move forward?

The government can only do so much to educate and reach out to the public to adopt safe cyber habits – as they have done in the latest and nation’s first cybersecurity awareness campaign “Live savvy with Cybersecurity”, launched on February 11th.

Also Read: Pro bono: Practical legal advice for navigating Singapore’s data privacy laws

But ultimately, it is up to each individual – Millennial, Baby Boomer and Gen Z, to start taking their cyber hygiene seriously. Everyone needs to get rid of any sense of complacency and realise that they are susceptible to cyber crimes, because your mistake could cost those around you.

Think of it like an infected thumbdrive. One that has already been infected is going around and affecting many other computers to crash. Now, nobody wants to be that thumbdrive, do we?

Cyber hygiene might sound daunting, but if we take it step-by-step and remain alert, we can create a more pleasant and safer Internet experience for ourselves and everyone around us.

The four final-year NTU students will have an interactive installation as part of their final-year project campaign “Life On(the)Line” at three different locations over the weekend:

  • Jurong Regional Library, Level IC (18 & 19 Feb),
  • NTU South Spine, Terrace at Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre (20 Feb), and
  • Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, Basement 1 (21 Feb).

Participants can expect to walk away with goodie bags (while stocks last) and stand a chance to win attractive prizes in their lucky draw and social media giveaway. For more information, like them on Facebook at http://ift.tt/2kYxYGX or follow them on Instagram @lifeonthelinesg, or check out their website http://ift.tt/2lZPV5D.

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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

Featured Image Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

The post Digital natives, much? Millennials are not as cyber-safe as they are cyber-savvy appeared first on e27.

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