Young people today are arguably more tech-savvy than any previous generation. They grew up in an era when the internet has always existed, and when rapidly improving computers have revolutionized the way we work, play and live our lives.
But just because they are more familiar with computers than their parents and grandparents doesn’t mean that young people are more secure when it comes to their computer usage. If anything, they may face a higher risk of potential cybersecurity issues.
Are young tech users overconfident?
Last year, a group of researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia conducted a study of cybersecurity threats in the workplace. Initially, the researchers assumed that older, less tech-savvy workers would be most susceptible to security breaches, according to a report by Phys.org. However, they found that the opposite was true.
“Interestingly, people who have less understanding of how computers work may be less at risk because they’re often more cautious,” said Dr. Malcolm Pattinson, a research fellow at the university’s business school. “Those who think they know it all will tend to be more self-assured, and that’s when they can make a serious mistake by clicking on the wrong email link or not noticing that attack software has been installed on their computer.”
This finding suggests that tech-savvy individuals may need more of an education in cybersecurity tactics than previously thought.
Universities must do more to prepare graduates for security
In recent years, major IT security breaches have only become more common. Just this past week, in fact, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation told Congress of five data breaches affecting thousands of taxpayers. The Washington Post reports that many people may have seen their personally identifiable information released as a result.
And, of course, personal identity theft is on the rise as well. Many of these cases occur because victims don’t take the time to properly secure their online accounts, leaving themselves vulnerable to thieves who can then assume their identity and rack up thousands of dollars of debt under their names.
But major universities – which take it upon themselves to prepare the next generation of young people for their professional lives – do not appear to be educating students on the risks of cybersecurity. One study conducted by IT security firm CloudPassage found that none of the top 10 computer science courses in the U.S. required students to study cybersecurity before graduating. In fact, out of a total of 122 schools, only one required more than three such courses.
“There needs to be a fundamental shift in the cybersecurity paradigm; we must get to a point where every university requires computer science majors to complete cybersecurity training as a graduation requirement, so that the programmers and developers of the next generation have security front-of-mind when delivering products to market,” Robert Thomas, CEO of CloudPassage, told CIO.
Without such a shift, we may experience a shortage of qualified online security professionals – not to mention a dearth of ordinary tech users who know how to protect themselves.
Even if you have been educated about your cybersecurity risks, you can never be too careful. The fact is that you are likely to become a victim of a scam or some other form of identity fraud at some point in your life. But an identity theft protection service, like Identity Guard, can help you prepare a response. Our service can help by monitoring your credit files, Social Security Numbers and public records, alerting you to certain activity that may be indicative of fraud.