Younger, But Not Savvier: 3 Cybersecurity Threats Plaguing Millennials

Tips & Advice

Surprise! Just because you’re a Millennial or Gen Zer doesn’t mean you’re savvier when it comes to technology. Especially when it comes to cybersecurity.  

Turns out, Millennials aren’t quite as tight with their security as the older generations are. That’s according to one study about working from home that focused on younger adults and their older cohorts. It’s perhaps no surprise that nearly half of them said that they enjoyed working from home. What is surprising is that while working from home, “Gen Zers (38%) and Millennials (23%) said they had four or more [technology] issues, on average, every week,” according to the research. 

For comparison, the research also showed that only 12% of employees aged 45 to 54, 4% aged 55 to 64, and 13% of seniors said that they had four or more issues per week. 

Talk about a stereotype-buster! 

Top security threats plaguing millennials 

Aside from technology issues in general, they found themselves dealing with security issues as well. The top three culprits … 

  • Password issues: getting locked out of apps, accounts, and devices 
  • Safe browsing habits: clicking on bad links, leading to hacks and attacks 
  • Tracking and privacy basics: not understanding what “accept all cookies” means 

If this survey is any indication, we could be a lot safer out there, particularly while we’re doing things like paying bills, checking our bank balances, or splitting dinner with friends via a payment app. 

That’s what’s at stake. Millennials have among the highest rates of online shopping by generation at more than 86% (compared to Boomers at just over 62%). They also use social media the most and 50% of them self-describe themselves as being online “almost constantly” (a figure that drops sharply with age). Taken together, that’s a significant level of exposure to potential threats online. So, if there’s one place where Millennials can get a bit savvier, it’s with their cybersecurity. 

Five tips to fight back against viruses, hacks, and attacks 

The good news is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to improve your safety online. With a few straightforward steps, you can protect yourself better than before—and perhaps spare you some of those technology headaches in the process. Let’s take a quick look: 

1. Cover all your bases with security software 

As always, this is “square one” advice when it comes to keeping yourself safe online. Comprehensive security software will do more than protect your stuff. It’ll protect you by making it safer while you use your apps, breeze through some videos, or take care of your finances—practically anything that involves you, your identity, your money, and your data online. And because we do so much of that on our phones, go ahead and add security software on your phone, too. That’ll make you far safer when you’re moving money around online or simply going about your day. 

2. Keep all your accounts straight with a password manager 

Yup, keeping track of all those passwords is a pain. Resetting them when you forget them is a pain too. And even bigger pain is reusing passwords, getting one account hacked, followed by a bunch of others getting hacked too because they use the same password. It happens. And hackers count on lazy password habits. Going online with strong, unique passwords is a must (even if it’s a bit of a pain), yet using a password manager makes it far easier and far more secure. Typically included with comprehensive security software, it can create and safely store strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. 

3. Steer clear of risky websites and links with an advisor 

What’s lurking behind that link? A sketchy site? A scam looking to steal your personal info? Sometimes it’s tough to know, until you click that link and find out the hard way. A web advisor can identify those bad sites and links for you without clicking. And further, it can block a mistaken click, giving you an extra level of protection. Often available with your security software, you can also get our own McAfee® Web Advisor for free. 

4. Stay extra secure while shopping and banking with a VPN 

By way of an app, a VPN helps keep your personal data safe as you use the internet. More than just protecting your browsing, it further protects you while using apps because of the way it creates a secure connection. Using a VPN is a smart move when using public Wi-Fi because that connection is, well, public, meaning anyone can potentially spy on your activity—potentially lifting passwords, data, and other personal info. A VPN is also a great idea any time you want extra privacy any time, particularly when you’re doing things like banking or shopping online. 

5. A.B.U. – Always Be Updating 

It seems like nearly every day some of your apps and devices will prompt you for an update. Take a moment to follow through on those alerts and install them. In a few moments, you’ll be up to date, which often includes security fixes that can improve your level of protection. Also, those alerts are a good time to ask yourself, “Do I really use that app anymore?” If you don’t, just go ahead and delete that app, along with any account or data associated with it. This leaves you with one less target that hackers can zero in on, thus making you that much safer (and with a less cluttered device to boot).  

Staying safer online = fewer headaches online 

Once you get up and running with these tips, you’ll find that you’re safer than before. Plus, you’ll also find that apps like security software and password managers can take care of a lot of time-consuming tasks for you, practically automatically. Giving you one less thing to worry about.  

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