Security & Fraud

Most Americans Think They Are Tech-Savvy But Habits Don't Show That

A new consumer survey commissioned by Arbor Networks, the security unit of NETSCOUT, concluded that two-thirds of Americans believe themselves to be tech-savvy, although their actions with regard to online security indicate otherwise — with millennials being the worst offenders.

In a press release, Arbor Networks revealed broad anxiety among Americans about their personal online safety as cyberattacks become increasingly mainstream, with at least 75 percent of adults being concerned about their security, privacy, malware or websites tracking them. With a focus on measuring Americans’ online security aptitude, the research examined the viewpoints of 2,056 American adults on topics such as security concerns and incidents, computer and password protection, online practices and impact to their shopping habits.

“The big takeaway from this survey is that the relentless headlines about cyberattacks have led to anxiety among a vast majority of Americans. Ironically, this has not driven people to do more to protect themselves online but quite the contrary,” said Christopher Gaebler, chief marketing officer at Arbor Networks. “The survey suggested these same people have really poor online security practices, which only makes the attackers’ jobs easier. Although cyberattacks are becoming more common, consumers are not powerless. In fact, there are basic steps people can take to protect themselves from the majority of online security threats.”

While American adults are not taking all of the steps they could to protect themselves by following best practices while online, the prevalence of cyberincidents has led them to hold businesses to high standards of protecting their personal information. In fact, over 70 percent say they would think twice about shopping at a retail store that had been a victim of a cyberattack. The company noted 71 percent agreed that, if they hear that a retail store was a victim of a cybersecurity incident involving customers’ information, it makes them think twice about shopping there, yet 64 percent said that, if they are on a major retail or social networking website, they always consider their information to be safe. Among millennials, it's 71 percent.

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