Millennials and Cybersecurity: Tips to Keep Your Data Safe
Updated: Jan 6
Have you ever heard of the saying, “Everything you post on the internet is permanent”? Whether it’s an Instagram photo, Twitter tweet, or Facebook status, anything posted online will exist forever. But, it doesn’t stop there. With all the advancements we’ve made in technology, our digital activity is on its way to becoming trackable. This includes digital photos, browser history, and even smartphone activity. With Cloud systems automatically saving photos and documents and location-sharing services in apps such as Snapchat, it is way too easy for cybercriminals to access our personal information.
Many people think, “No way. Nothing bad will happen to me!” This mindset is embodied by the generation with the worst cyber habits. If you’re born between 1980 and 1995, I’m talking about you.
As millennials grew up in a blossoming world of technology and internet access, you would think that they’d best understand the dangers of being online. Actually, it’s the opposite. According to Forbes, millennials are extremely comfortable using digital devices, leading them to become apathetic to guarding their personal data as they believe nothing terrible will happen to them.
This has led to the creation of horrible cybersecurity practices in the generational group. For instance, in a survey by Software Advice, 85% of millennial participants admit to reusing passwords online in comparison to 74% of Baby Boomers. Millennials are also 6.5 times more likely to reuse work passwords, with a study by Centrify showing that over a third of managers believe millennials are to blame for workplace data breaches.
Obviously, millennials aren’t the only group that needs to up their cybersecurity game; every generation could use some improvement in order to combat one of modern society’s biggest threats. Using the simple tips below, you could better guard your data from cyberattacks and prevent workplace breaches from occurring.
1. Use a Password Manager
As said before, reusing passwords is a no-go when it comes to cybersecurity. This way, if your credentials get stolen, they won’t work on every account you own. By using a password manager, you won’t have to remember or write down the login information for any sites, thus varying passwords as you like.
2. Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing/Malware are the number one cause of security breaches. Phishing is when scammers use emails or messages to trick you into divulging personal information. This could be by either posing as someone the recipient may be familiar with, tricking them into opening a malicious link or downloading software that infects their computer. A great way to avoid these scams is by being wary of emails/messages from unknown senders and looking out for grammar errors/inconsistencies in messages.
3. Don’t Open Unknown Links
Tying in with phishing scams, never open any unknown links. Links are a common tool to trick individuals into giving up their secure information. This can be in the form of password recovery emails, bank statements, and even flight reservations. Make sure to inspect links and ensure each one is from a trustworthy source.
4. Install Anti-Virus Protection and Firewall
With the simple click of the mouse, it is incredibly easy to become the target of viruses, spyware, or malware. Installing Anti-Virus and Firewall softwares on your devices will help prevent these attacks before they even happen.
5. Keep Your Software Updated
While this is mainly for your Anti-Virus and Firewall softwares, it goes for your operating system and browser as well. The older a system is, the more time the hackers have to try and find its vulnerabilities. By keeping your system up to date, you can prevent malware and hackers from using those security weaknesses.
6. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Lastly, don’t use public wi-fi, at least without precautions. When you connect to a wi-fi network, hackers are able to position themselves digitally between you and the connection point. This means that instead of sending your information to the wi-fi modem, you could be sending it directly to them, giving them access to all the information you share or access during the time. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) software, the traffic between your device and the VPN server becomes encrypted, making it much more difficult for a cybercriminal to access your data.
Above all, many cybersecurity threats can be resolved through proper education and understanding. Every generation needs to be careful with what they post online, and know that nothing digital is private. So, whether you are a millennial or not, using these tricks can help protect you from hackers and breaches.