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Source: SecurityWatch

Posted on June 26, 2012

When the IBM PC first hit the scene, today's baby boomers were in their 20's. Modern young adults have grown up surrounded by amazing technology, tech that they naturally take for granted. Does their innate tech-expertise make them better at protecting privacy and staying safe online? In a word, no. A recent Dimensional Research survey sponsored by ZoneAlarm clearly shows that while the younger set believe they have more security knowledge, their elders are more effective at implementing protection.

The study surveyed over 1,200 PC users in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia during March 2012. The report focuses on differences between baby boomers (56- to 65-year olds) and generation Y (18- to 25-year olds). Click on the image below to view an infographic summarizing what the researchers found.

The data strongly suggests that security becomes more of a priority with age. Young folks are more likely to prioritize entertainment or community over security, while more than half of the boomers placed security first. Perhaps not surprisingly, boomers worry more about email attacks while Gen Y expects trouble to come through social networks or P2P file sharing.

63 percent of the Gen Y respondents claimed to be knowledgeable about security, a bit more than the 59 percent of baby boomers. However, 50 percent of the Gen Y crowd actually experienced a recent security problem, compared with 42 percent of boomers. The younger folks are also less likely to pay for security products. 45 percent say security software costs too much, compared with 37 percent of baby boomers.

One thread holds across all age groups--the vast majority of people keep sensitive data such as tax records, passwords, and financial data on their computers. As for taking care of this data, the generation gap re-emerges. 78 percent of Gen Y admitted they don't follow accepted best practices for security, while only 53 percent of baby boomers did.

The full report, available from the ZoneAlarm website, details all of the statistics described here as well as stats for three age groups between Gen Y and baby boomers. Interestingly, while 48 percent overall agreed that they expect security software to be free, those 36 to 45 years old didn't entirely agree. Only 41 percent of people in this age group expect free security software.

The report concludes that everyone should use free antivirus and firewall protection which, by no coincidence, ZoneAlarm can supply.

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