Consumers over confident of their connected device security

A new study by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) into perceptions and behavior regarding the security of connected devices has shown that most U.S. consumers have confidence in the security of the connected devices they own.

However, the survey of 1000 respondents in two age groups (500 persons aged 18-34 and 500 persons aged 50-75) shows that this confidence can be lost, as well as interesting differences between generations.

While 81% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 have moderate to high confidence in the safety of the connected devices they own, only 77% of consumers between the ages of 50 and 75 feel this way.

None of the age groups has a monopoly on bad safety habits. More than a third (36%) of Americans aged 50-75 say they rarely or never check for software updates on the devices they connect to. 54% of 18-34-year-olds often connect their devices to unsecured WiFi networks to access corporate servers, bank information, and email.

In addition, half of 18-34-year-olds sometimes or never turn off unnecessary manufacturer features such as tracking location and sharing data in recently purchased connected devices. In addition, 44% of this demographic group still accepts push requests, such as requests for access to a location or contact information.

According to Kelvin Coleman, executive director of NCSA, there is a gap between the safety consumers expect from connected equipment and the hygiene safety standards we monitor. While most respondents understand the most basic privacy protection, such as the importance of multi-factor authentication and updating default password settings on new devices, more needs to be done to raise awareness and reduce the vulnerability gap between users.

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Older users are usually more vulnerable: 42% of the 50-75 respondents never use public WiFi with their connected devices to access company data, bank details or email. 68% of these users only download applications from trusted sources and only 23% use cloud storage to easily back up their data.

Older respondents are more calculating when it comes to the risks associated with using connected devices, staying away from public Wi-Fi when accessing sensitive personal information, downloading applications from trusted sources only, and largely avoiding cloud storage solutions. Since the threats posed by these practices are well documented, the decision to avoid such behavior is wise, Coleman adds.

Looking at the almost inevitable patterns of distant workers, 64% of older distant workers say they feel partially or very willing to switch to WFH, compared to 83% of younger respondents. Yet 49% of 50-75 employees provide better WFH security by regularly updating the anti-virus, antivirus, and firewall software on their devices, and only 33% of younger employees do the same.

The full report is available on the NCSA website.

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