Surprisingly enough, it appears that some of us are naturally or rather, socially primed to be shrewder when it comes to safety online. With differences internationally and inter-generationally, there are huge disparities over our abilities to stay Cyber safe. This will of course, affect the general online safety of everyone, in due course, as once a door has been opened, cyber crime has a way of planting the compromising security risks for millions.
Surveys and studies are beginning to produce similar disparate results, the two sides of the Atlantic have vastly diverse understandings of what it means to be cyber-safe. Not only that, but right here at home, your cyber security awareness is heavily affected by your age group, as are your computer skills, although not necessarily in the same direction.
Cyber Security and cyber knowledge, unfortunately do not come hand in hand and just because you are online 24/7, it doesn’t equate to being safer.
UK Residents More Cyber Security Savvy Than Americans
A recently published report also suggests that people from the UK tend to be more cyber security savvy than those living in the United States. According to the data from the survey, 78% people from the UK were able to correctly define “malware,” compared to 61% of those living in the US.
Likewise, more than half of those surveyed in the United States were victims of some form of identity theft. In the United Kingdom, this number was much smaller – just 19%. A significantly higher percentage of people in the US also had one of their social media accounts hacked or compromised in some way as well. This seems to indicate that Brits are sharper when it comes to safety, although it could equally indicate that they simply have less of the unqualified public using computer technology.
One area where the US seems to lead the way is the habit of backing up important information. As many as 92% of those surveyed stated they regularly back up all of their important files. This number was somewhat lower in the UK, standing at 83%.
US employees are also more likely to allow their friends and family access to various corporate devices, oblivious of security risks this can create. As many as 86% of those surveyed had no problem with allowing others access to their work devices. Considering the risks of your computer being used for illegal web activities or internet fraud
In the UK, 45% answered they wouldn’t allow others use their work devices for non-work-related activities.
Although general fear and security procedure appears higher for Brits, the fact that certain issues are taken more seriously by Americans suggest that cyber security issues, more talked about in the news, State side could affect attitudes. Losing important data, or having it blocked, such as in the Equifax disaster, may push more Americans to have backed up their data.
Baby Boomers & Gen-Z: A Knowledge Gap
Some surveys show that baby boomers are more cyber security savvy than Generation Z. One such survey showed that baby boomers were much more knowledgeable about ransomware, a serious threat over the past few years. Likewise, they were far more likely to stop the spread various cyber security threats and malware. In a survey conducted by Webroot, 94.2% of them said they had not forwarded any unsolicited emails from unknown senders over the past twelve months.
So, although the youngsters are more tech savvy, their online privacy and safety is either less known or simply less important. According to Webroot, many users are still oblivious when it comes to ransomware and feel like they’re not in danger from these threats. They emphasize it is essential for everyone to follow at least basic safety procedures, keep their information backed up, and run regular antivirus checkups to help prevent more serious damage.
Long Road Ahead
Although we live in the information age and are surrounded with cyber threats, there is much work to be done to increase awareness of risks. From professional to private information, no one is really immune or invulnerable to attacks and the sooner we find an acceptable cyber security consensus for us all, the better.