Young people refuse to get hacked by sloppy security

Young people refuse to get hacked by sloppy security

Teenagers and those born in the digital era are 10 times less likely than their parents to get done over by dodgy security online, new research reveals.

From phishing to spoof emails and spam, fake logins to scams, the average 30-year-old is much more at risk than his juniors through poor online habits.

Despite anti-youth sentiment the truth is that younger people are more careful about their personal data by practice and routine.

New research from IBM shows how the younger you are, the more likely you are to prioritize security over convenience when logging in to apps and devices.

It’s not all good news from younger people though.

While fewer teenagers try to create strong passwords than their risk-averse parents, they are more likely to use eye or fingerprint scanners or password managers to protect their personal security.

A study by cybersecurity researchers Irdeto Perspective revealed the top 20 passwords by keyboard pattern – those easiest to guess include QWERTYUIOP, QWEASDZXC and 1QAZ2WSX.

So when your dad thinks he’s being clever by creating an apparently random string of letters based on the position on the keyboard, really he’s putting himself and his data at greater risk.

Convenience is not king

The study took in responses from over 1,000 people from the UK and Europe, 1,976 people from the US and 977 people from India and Singapore.

  • Biometrics becoming mainstream: 67 percent were comfortable using biometric authentication today, while 87 percent said they would be comfortable with these technologies in the future.
  • Technology still catching up: While high-end phones like the iPhone X have biometric features built in, the applied science is not yet good enough to protect younger teenagers. Apple themselves made the shocking admission that the FaceID scanner on their £999 flagship device would not work for under 13s. FaceID could in fact confuse the facial features of brothers and sisters and allow devious siblings to unlock the gateway to all their personal messages and data: a nightmare scenario for image-conscious teens.


The use of fingerprint technology to open a phone or tablet has made devices more secure.

But over-30s are more likely to be suspicious of this technology than take it up.

Habit rules: growing up with biometrics means you’re more likely to trust it to keep you safe.

Passwords dying a slow death

While 75 percent of people born before 1985 are comfortable using biometrics today, less than half are using complex passwords, and 41 percent reuse passwords across apps, websites and different machines.

IBM say this is not particularly surprising. It’s widely known that evolving threats online tend to challenge traditional login methods that rely heavily on passwords.

Go deeper: 1.4bn personal credentials found for sale on the Dark Web

Around the world, Europeans have the strongest password practices. 52% of those in the UK and Germany use complex passwords compared to just 41% of Americans.

The average internet user now has to manage over 150 online accounts that require a password. This is expected to double to over 300 accounts over the next two years.

In a statement, IBM Security’s Executive Security Advisor Limor Kessem noted: “In the wake of countless data breaches of highly sensitive personal data, there’s no longer any doubt that the very information we’ve used to prove our identities online in the past is now a shared secret in the hands of hackers.

“As consumers are acknowledging the inadequacy of passwords and placing increased priority on security, the time is ripe to adopt more advanced methods that prove identity on multiple levels and can be adapted based on behavior and risk.”


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