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Baby Boomers VS Millennials: Who’s The Bigger IT Risk?

7 November 2017 00:00

In one corner, you have the tech-savvy millennials - surrounded by technology since their early years. In the other, are the older (but wiser) baby boomer generation. So, who is more susceptible to online fraudsters?

Older and younger employees

When it comes to online fraud, there’s often been an unfair assumption when comparing who is more at risk - the digitally-aware millennials or the baby boomers whose early lives were significantly less tech-oriented. But each generation has their strengths and weaknesses, and a new report has brought about some surprising findings.

In fact, younger people are not only more susceptible to online fraud - they’re TWICE as likely to be snared by a scam.

Here's how they compare

Despite the belief that millennials are more than capable in the tech department, the report found that one in 10 under-25s fall victim to a phishing attack, compared to one in 20 over-55s.

Add to that the average financial loss that the younger generations are facing, you’ll find that the average millennial and Gen Z victim loses over £600 per attack, compared to just over £200 suffered by the older generation.

The even darker side of the findings has shed light on how the aftermath of a scam can affect both generations. The 18 to 24 age group were much more likely to suffer from mental health struggles after being scammed online, with 29% saying that the crime had impacted them - compared to just 3% of over-55s.

"Younger people pay less attention"

Given the amount of social platforms and messaging services that most younger people use on a daily basis, it’s easy to think that carelessness will come as a big factor in these findings - and you’d be completely right for thinking so. In fact, only 40% of younger respondents “carefully read and re-read all emails”, while over 69% of elderly people do the same.

In addition to that, over half of millennials admit to carelessly “replying to or clicking links in unsolicited or spam emails”, compared to a quarter of older respondents.

         Similar read: 7 ways millennials are impacting your security awareness program

Baby boomers might be less of a risk, but they’re the biggest target

While millennials are the more susceptible generation, cyber criminals are still targeting older brits (47%) more than their younger counterparts (36%).

The simple fact is, everyone is a target of online fraudsters. While they may have their preferences on who their unlucky victims might be, there’s no discrimination in cyber crime (take a look at some of a hackers favourite targets in the workplace).

Education is key

Nearly half of fraud is now committed through cyber crime, and just under half of Brits have been targeted by a range of techniques - from phishing to social engineering.

While baby boomers show more signs of wisdom when it comes to unsolicited emails and messages, there is still a huge demographic who aren’t aware of the sophisticated nature of online scams. As for millennials, it’s clear that being ‘tech-savvy’ is far from being security-savvy in the cyber world. Cyber security education is key for all demographics, especially in the workplace.

Take a look at our article covering the role of human error in successful cyber security breaches to gain a better idea of the growing issue, or feel free to see how we educate end users on the importance of cyber security awareness.

         Read next: The role of human error in successful cyber security breaches

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