Millennials And Cybersecurity

Millennials And Cybersecurity

Understanding technology and using it securely are not the same thing.
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If you’re one of the nearly 75 million people born between 1982 and 2004, you fall into the generational group researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss proclaimed “Millennials” in 2012. Since the term Millennial didn’t come about until recently, one of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation as compared to their Generation X parents is a familiarity with technology.

Most people who identify with this generation group grew up in a high-tech era and view technology as a part of daily life. But understanding technology and using it securely are not the same thing, and new studies are pointing a finger at young people for making careless choices in their use of technology — choices that have significant impacts in the workplace.

Business and Pleasure in One Place

In 2013, mobile threat defense company Marble security conducted a survey of online security practices in people born between 1980 and 2000. The results indicated that Millennials were five percent more likely to have been hacked in a major breach than persons even just a few years older.

How does this impact office affairs? Their poor security practices do nothing to discourage Millennials from using their personal devices in business applications. Imagine you’re an executive receiving a sensitive document that’s just been emailed to you using someone’s personal email. You have no way of knowing whether it was compromised while on public servers.

This type of exposure becomes frightening when you consider the how easy it is for cybercriminals to take advantage of abundant personal information these days. The recent yahoo breach that exposed information for five hundred million personal accounts is a great example. All an attacker needs to do is match your account name to the email, and viola — everything in your inbox is theirs.

Have We Become Comfortably Numb?

Despite their familiarity with technology as a tool for productivity, today’s youth don’t seem the least bit concerned about network security, even in an age when breaches, hacks and identity theft take place on a nearly daily basis.

Seventy-two percent of Millennials polled by Marble indicated that they had logged into an unsecure public network, more than half said they had used mobile media — for example, a flash drive — that they had received from someone else and nearly a quarter confessed to having shared an online password with someone outside their family.

Collectively, it seems Millennials are just plain less concerned about online security than other generations. However, when you consider that they’ve grown up in a world where password entry is just another chore, perhaps the situation is a little bit like getting behind the wheel of a car. You know it’s dangerous, but you don’t feel nervous. You become desensitized to the threat.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the way Millennials perceive cyber threats is their reaction when they are the target of one.

It seems they fail to recognize the consequences of a potential breach, and how real they are. Once the attack takes place, Millennials use their knowledge of technology to quickly make changes and adopt more secure practices.

Best Practices for Safe Browsing

If you’re the owner of a company that hires lots of young people, this might not be enough to convince you to institute a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, but it is a sign that there’s hope.

Many of the things Millennials are doing wrong are easily corrected — for example, using a single password for multiple locations. Instead, try using a password manager like LastPass to keep track of multiple credentials for each individual site. Create complex passwords that use numbers and characters, and replace them often to ensure maximum protection.

Social media, made popular during the age of Millennials, has been a popular medium through which criminals obtain personal info. Take caution not to share items that could be used to mine your personal information.

Millennials are also commonly the first to get their hands on hot new devices or applications. While these new technologies might use the latest security, they can also fall victim to exploits developers haven’t had time to work out. If you’re using an app or device in a business setting, be sure to vet it with your IT team.

Is the Next Great Generation a Great Security Risk?

Millennials bring a wealth of technological knowledge to the workplace, and are generally perceived as more attracted to jobs where they can make a difference and influence growth. These two characteristics make them attractive hires, not to be ruled out just because of Marble’s survey.

The same risks many Millennials have fallen victim to — possibly because they simply use technology more than other generations — can do harm to someone of any age. This is why business owners need to carefully consider policy before allowing the use of personal devices and insecure browsing.

With a few additions to the employee handbook, some good training and an IT policy that includes antimalware software and password management, you can easily eliminate 99% of the threats that anyone who is not being careful, Millennial or not, might introduce.

Cover Image Credit: Splitshire

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Millennials LOVED Vine, There's No Reason For Them To Be Skeptical Of Tik Tok

Recently, the video-sharing app Tik Tok has been gaining popularity among Gen Z kids. Why are Millennials wary towards this app, which produces content similar to that of the beloved late Vine?

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Millennials, people born approximately between the years of 1981 and 1996, grew up in an era of rapidly evolving technology. Many millennials feel as if they were literally raised on the internet. Millennials who grew up in the United States share common memories of Youtube before ads, Instagram's first (and uglier) icon, and a time when taxi cabs outnumbered Uber drivers.

Vine was one of the most popular apps during the late childhood and adolescence of Millennials. The app was originally intended to be used for artistic purposes, but comedy ultimately overcame this original use. Vine, released in 2013, grew quickly, reaching its peak between the years 2014 and 2015. This success was short-lived, as we all know, and Vine was taken down in 2016 due to financial issues. The famous viners were scattered to the wind, many of them creating Youtube channels in order to hold viewership.

While Vine was dying, an app called Musical.ly was on the rise. Many Millennials had become invested in the lives of their Vine-turned-Youtuber personalities or were too busy with school or work to be interested in this new app. Gen Z, people born in the early 2000s, gained interest in this new app, in which users lip-sync to downloaded songs. Like Vine, Musical.ly gave birth to a new generation of influencers, like Jacob Sartorius and Loren Gray.

It's no lie that many people looked down on Musical.ly. Not only did the app produce a lot of cringe-worthy content, Millennials simply didn't understand the point of the app, as users weren't able to create original content. While Gen Z kids pounced on this new app, millennials wept over compilations of archived vines with titles like, "Vines That Keep Me From Ending It All," and "Rare Vines to Show Your Crush." Rumors of a "Vine 2" were spread across the internet, but there's been no progress made on the second coming of the video-making app.

On November 9th, 2017, Chinese internet technology company Bytedance bought Musical.ly for $1 billion dollars and merged the app with Tik Tok, an almost identical platform that had shown success in the Chinese market. Tik Tok began to gain popularity with Americans, particularly among teens and young adults interested in cosplay.

The app's users recently have been producing content similar to vines. The users have been breaking away from the typical lip-synch platform, and begun to produce short, funny, and unexplainable videos that emulate "vine energy."

So, will Tik Tok become Gen Z's vine? This has been disputed. Many TikTok-ers have amassed large followings and fanbases, similar to that of popular viners back in the day. The app itself is easier to navigate than Vine, as you can view the content of a user in a grid, similar to Instagram. But many millennials feel as though nothing can ever replace Vine, especially not this weird Musical.ly replacement.

For now, Tik Tok is viewed in a mainly negative light by most millennials, which is understandable. Tik Tok gained fame when multiple youtube commentators like Cody Ko and Kurtis Conner critiqued the cringe-y content posted on the app. Tik Tok "cringe compilations" also go viral on the regular.

Over time, the older generation will probably come around to the app. Some Tik Toks that have gone viral have been held in favor by the masses and compared to vines. With the financial backing that Tik Tok has from tech giant Bytedance, it is certain to say that this short-video app will definitely last longer than Vine's 3-year life span.

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