Dave Keating, DataSolutions

Younger generations pose biggest cybersecurity threat to businesses

Nearly half of Gen Z office workers have lost a device linked to a work e-mail account
Dave Keating, DataSolutions

28 June 2019

It has been revealed that one in 10 millennials would knowingly use a work device that was under cyber-attack, as younger generations are named the biggest security threat to businesses.

This revelation comes from a survey commissioned by specialist IT solutions distributor, DataSolutions, involving 500 Irish office workers.

In addressing some of the biggest cybersecurity threats businesses face, it found that 19% of respondents have emailed sensitive, work-related information to the wrong recipient, while 14% have copied sensitive company data from previous or current employers for their own use.




Furthermore, 42% of Gen Z office workers have lost a device that was linked to their work email account, according to the research. There is a pattern here, as it was also revealed that 28% of Gen Z employees admitted to still having access to previous employer’s company information or private logins. In comparison, 16% of millennials shared this admission, followed by Gen X at 9%, and Baby Boomers at 8%.

As such, it is surprising that Gen Z was found to be the most suspicious generation when it comes to hackers targeting devices used daily. In fact, Gen Z came up trumps in every category related to the hacking of internet connected devices. For example, 25% of Gen Z workers worry about their wearables being hacked, compared to 15% of Baby Boomers.

Across the board, Irish office workers are most fearful of security cameras (31%), followed by smart home alarms (30%) and smart home voice assistants (28%).

Commenting on the survey findings, Dave Keating, group security director, DataSolutions, said: “While it is a positive sign that the younger generations place an emphasis on internet security, we can see that this awareness doesn’t always translate into action. For example, when the WhatsApp security breach occurred earlier this year, everybody was talking about it, but how many people immediately went on and actually deleted or upgraded the app on their phone? I’d say fewer than you think.

“That’s why employers cannot take for granted that their employees will take steps to stave off an attack when they have other work commitments or if it impacts on the use of their devices. Business leaders need to remain alert to the dangers that human error and carelessness can pose.

The survey was carried out by Censuswide in May 2019. Generations were defined as follows:

  • Gen Z: aged 16-23
  • Millennials: aged 24-37
  • Gen X: aged 38-53
  • Baby Boomers: aged 54-72

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