Age, an Issue on the Internet: Adults Are More Cautious, but Do Not Recognize the Threats

old man laptopWhen we talk about online safety, users over 45 are more reluctant than youngsters when it comes to publicizing personal information. Therewith, elders do not have the appropriate knowledge to identify a scam or an imminent threat.

According to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab among Internet users, people aged up to 24 are more willing to disclose personal information online, and they take fewer precautions; nonetheless, they understand potential threats better and can recognize scams easier.

Research has shown that in young people, disclosing personal information is something normal; 83% of youngsters are using private messages as compared to only 53% of people over 45. Three times more young people recognize that they have made public personal information online at least once: 23%, compared to 7% in other categories of users.

The young generation is less inquisitive when installing programs or downloading certain files. 26% say they skip the details about terms and conditions when they are installing software. This means they do not know what type of data they have granted access to, what additional programs they downloaded or what OS settings they might have modified. Only 12% of those over 45 overlook the small print information. Younger people are less careful when downloading files, one in three (31%) downloading files from various, unreliable sources as compared to only 10% among adult users.

One respondent in four (24%) of those aged under 24 would disable the security option that prevents them from trying to install a program, compared with 13% of the adults.

However, when confronted with a potential threat, young users have more experience in detecting malware. When asked to download a song, giving them the four types of files, only one in three (30%) chose the most dangerous file – “.exe,” compared to almost half (42%) of those aged over 45. Secure format “.wma” was selected by only one in five respondents in over 45 category, as compared to 29% among the youngest.

Not surprisingly, given their more relaxed behavior in the online environment, more young people are likely to be affected by malware. 57% of those in the age group under 24 years had an incident in 2015 compared to 34% of the other age group.

Due to the lack of experience with online risks, elders agreed in greater numbers that they do not understand how their computer has been infected: 17%, compared with only 10% of those under 24 years.

“While it is clear that mature Internet users usually take fewer risks with disclosing personal information online, when faced with a cyber threat, they are not experienced enough to identify it and to know what has to be done, ” says David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “There is no substitute for self-preservation instinct. Users of all ages ought to be careful and aware of the potential online threats, no matter how often they use the Internet. They also must have installed a security solution to provide full protection when downloading and installing files, or chatting online.”

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