Millennials are most vulnerable to hacks and cyber attacks, research suggests

While teens and young adults are usually thought to be more tech savvy then middle-aged adults, new research suggests millennials are more lackadaisical about being safe online.

A new study looked at the basic ways people maintain their online security, and millennials consistently performed poorly compared to other demographics.

Millennials, for the purpose of this study performed by the Gartner-affiliated research firm Software Advice, are defined as people born after 1980. They were pitted against “Generation X” — those born between 1965 and 1980 — and “Baby Boomers” — people whose birth years fall between 1946-1964.

The researchers asked a total of 529 participants about their digital security.

The findings were clear: Millennials are the most apathetic with their safety precautions, making them the most hackable.

Here are some standout numbers:

  • 85% of millennials say they reuse online passwords, compared to 79% of Gen X-ers and 74% of Baby Boomers.
  • Millennials are more likely to accept social media invitations form strangers than the other two age groups .
  • In the workplace, millennials were the most likely to find “security workarounds” to avoid workplace digital restrictions.

All of these behaviours provide easy avenues for hackers to pounce. Hackers look for reused passwords as an easy way to compromise multiple accounts. Phishing campaigns often start from fake social accounts that connect with thousands of random people. And, Mary Meeker’s most recent state of the web presentation highlighted how mobile device misuse is a common cause for company security breaches.

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