Gen Y: More tech savvy, less security conscious

A recent study released by Check Point Software Technologies Inc. notes that older users are more concerned about computer security than their millennial counterparts, which seems counterintuitive in many ways. Generation Y grew up techie, and are, to use a sweeping generalization, more knowledgable about technology than Baby Boomers. They are more likely to use online commerce. Yet, according to the survey, only 31 per cent of Gen Y users ranked security as the most important consideration when making computer-buying decisions, compared to 58 per cent of Boomers. The formula seems to go: Security consciousness increases with age. In which case, I should be battened down like Fort Knox by now.

Perhaps the explanation is that Generation Y grew up with pervasive technology that offers a relatively seamless user experience, compared to that of those who grew up on command lines. Perhaps it’s the fact that so much of their lives can be managed online. Whatever the case, they’re not paying for antivirus software (and, of course, Check Point would like them to do so).

It’s troubling because this dovetails with a sense of entitlement about using their own devices in the corporate environment. A growing number of those devices are smart phones, which are much more difficult to protect both from malware and from theft than a desktop computer.

And it’s troubling because, as any security pro will tell you, security awareness is probably the most important defence for the network and the endpoint. These people are aware of the implications; they just don’t follow security best practices.

This should leave security and network pros very leery of personal devices on the network. A very specific BYOD policy is a first step, but without ruthless enforcement, can you be sure it’s being followed?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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