One in Four Young Adults Experience Hacked Accounts

Posted by David Jevans in Blog, security on October 21, 2013

New research by Marble Security indicates that more than 1 in 4 U.S. young adults born between 1980-2000 have had online accounts hacked. The national average — regardless of age — is closer to 1 in 5 at 21%.

 

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Researchers for Marble Security used Google Consumer Surveys to focus on a single question: Have you ever had an online account hacked? (1) Despite the survey’s simplicity, the data reveals some interesting results.

Tech-Savvy Millennials Hacked the Most

The survey results contradict the assumption that Millennials are more tech-savvy and less likely to fall victim to tactics used by hackers, such as social engineering or phishing tactics. Not true. 26% of respondents ages 25-34 reported hacked online accounts.

This number of hacked individuals falls slightly for adult’s age 35-44 to 24%, before dropping drastically to just 15% for adults over age 55.

 

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Geographic Differences: It’s Not About Location

There is little geographic variation. West Coast Internet users are slightly more likely to have experienced a hacked account, reporting 23% against just 20% for those living in the Northeast.

Likewise, big city dwellers were no safer than their counterparts in the country. Both rural and urban areas had a 22% chance of being hacked.

Hackers Don’t Care How Much Money You Make

This research found no variation based on the victim’s income. Respondents making more than $50,000 per year were just as likely to be hacked as those making less than $50,000.

Gender didn’t seem to make a difference either. 22% of all men and women surveyed experienced a hacked account.

A Worrying Trend for Businesses

The survey results make clear that hackers don’t distinguish between gender, income or location when searching for targets. One thing for sure, the more you’re online the greater your chance of being hacked because criminals are constantly searching the web for vicitims.

Near complete adoption of mobile devices in the workplace, cloud computing, and businesses increasingly adopting BYOD programs mean that the enterprise faces increased risk. Every employee comes with an aggregate of accounts, profiles and passwords — all vulnerable to attacks. Though the problem grows exponentially at the enterprise level, SMBs may be more at risk due to smaller or non-existent IT departments.

As Millennials enter the workforce and workers spend more of their day online, it’s increasingly likely that most connected users will face loss of data or funds because of an attack in the near future, as will the businesses that hire them.

Footnotes:

(1) “Have you ever had an online account hacked”? is a survey written by Marble Security and conducted using Google Consumer Surveys, August, 2013. The poll queried 1532 Internet Users and had an overall Root Mean Square Error of 3.8%. When the initial results showed an apparent higher risk for young adults, the poll was verified with another 500 users in the 25-34 age group. The second poll had an RMSE of 2.0%.