The digital era's most profound users, Generation Z, are capitulating on comprehensive online security, deeming it unachievable, new research suggests. According to an annual study by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and Cybsafe involving 6,000 participants, 43% of Gen Z and 36% of millennials confess to having lost money or data due to cybercrimes.
Interestingly, millennials are significantly affected by online dating scams, with 44% succumbing to such fraud. They are also accountable for over a third of all phishing and identity theft crimes. Overall, 27% of all participants conceded to having fallen victim to at least one instance of cybercrime.
The study lays bare the startling vulnerability of Gen Z's cybersecurity attitudes and actions, with alarming statistics suggesting that Gen Z, who will constitute over a quarter of the global workforce by 2025, are more at risk. The study shows that while only 44% of Gen Z indicate that they have control over their online security, 35% feel overwhelmed and swamped by cybersecurity matters.
Gen Z is twice as likely as Baby Boomers to believe that cybersecurity isn't worth the hassle. Less than half of this group envision online security as achievable, strikingly contrasting with 59-79% of their older counterparts.
The bleak cybersecurity scene is further underpinned by estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. As per their data, there were approximately 745,000 cybercrime offences for the year ending March 2023. A breakdown reveals that half of these instances involved unauthorised access to personal data and 157,000 offences were due to computer viruses or malware. The financial toll of cybercrime was significant, amounting to 6.7 billion for individuals and 2.7 billion for businesses.
However, amidst the grim scenario, a silver lining has emerged—the rise in the reporting of cybercrimes. The reporting rates considerably increased, with 88% of victims reporting incidents. The most common reporting channel was their bank or credit card company, followed by the police or another governmental agency.
For further insight and a deeper exploration of these compelling findings, interviews can be arranged with Dr. Jason Nurse, Director of Science and Research at Cybsafe and Associate Professor in Cyber Security at the University of Kent, and Lisa Plaggemier from the National Cybersecurity Alliance.