Most Americans don’t know the basics of cybersecurity and privacy. In a study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that adults in the U.S do not know how to protect their personal data online.
The study made up of 10 questions, quizzed 4,272 participants on digital topics like cybersecurity. On average most people got only four questions correct. Just 2% of people got all questions correct and 20% had more than seven correct answers. Further, most adults only answered three questions correctly.
The questionnaire further found that most adults were able to answer questions about phishing scams and cookies. About two-thirds of adults knew that there are various methods of phishing scams, including email, social media, websites, and text messages. Additionally, a majority of adults also knew what cookies are and how they allow sites to track user activity.
Americans failed to understand other core concepts, like two-factor authentication and how to identify secure websites.
The report noted that “Only three-in-ten adults correctly answered that starting a URL with “https://” means that the information entered on that site is encrypted (30%). A similar share (28%) accurately identified an example of two-factor authentication.”
Not understanding the concept of two-factor authentication is putting Americans at risk. 2FA is a method of using two forms of identification when logging into an account. The two forms usually include something the user knows like a password and something the user has, such as phone number or token key. This is especially important when logging into confidential sites like banking.
Further, knowing the difference between a secure and insecure site is crucial. One way security experts have implemented an easy way to tell is with https. When you go to a site that begins with https, this means the site is encrypted and secure, whereas, if you go to a site beginning with Http, it is not.
The survey also found that younger adults have more digital knowledge than older adults. Adults ages 18-29 correctly answered an average of five questions correct compared to adults ages 65 and up who answered an average of three correct. Not only is there a knowledge gap between different age groups, but also in education.
“For all 10 questions, there are double-digit gaps between those who have a bachelor’s or advanced degree and those who have a high school education or less. And on five questions, the difference sits at roughly 30 percentage points.
In this digital era, it is crucial for all people to be aware of their online activity. All users should take the time to educate themselves on the basics of keeping their data safe online.
Contact LIFARS today for security awareness training