Boomers have better cybersecurity habits than millennials and GenZ, study finds

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Boomers are often reviled for hoarding the world’s resources, but they’re also dominating their descendants in their cyber defences.

That’s according to a new survey by Yubico, a Swedish vendor of authentication devices. The company asked 2,000 consumers in the US and UK about their attitudes towards protecting online accounts.

The responses revealed a counterintuitive divide: digital natives appear less cyber-secure than their elders.

Yubico found that boomers are the least likely generation to reuse passwords for multiple accounts (20% of respondents). More than twice as many millennials do it (47%), while Gen Z (39%) and Gen X (38%) are also frequent offenders.

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Boomers also rarely save their credit card information in online accounts (19%). Their successors are all far happier to do this. Some 33% of Gen Z, 37% of millennials, and 34% of Gen X will save the details.

A key factor in this divergence is self-doubt. Boomers are almost twice as likely to feel unconfident about spotting a fraudulent online retailer (42%) than Gen Z (23%). Millennials (29%) and Gen X (30%) also rarely suffer from a lack of confidence.

These findings don’t mean “the luckiest generation” plays it entirely safe. When it comes to multi-factor authentication (MFA), the most common users are Gen Z (59%) and Gen X (55%). Still, boomers are more likely to turn it on (53%) than those carefree millennials (48%).

Bar chart showing Gen Z is most concerned with cybersecurity for their online accounts
Gen Z has the most cybersecurity concerns, but not the best practices. Credit: Yubico

Alongside the survey results, Yubico shared some cybersecurity advice. As the producer of an MFA security key, the firm obviously wants every generation to apply MFA. In addition, the company recommends reviewing existing sign-in methods and creating unique credentials that are stored in a password manager.

That should make boomers even safer — as if they needed any extra help. Hopefully, it also gives younger generations a rare chance to catch up.

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