A new study commissioned by cybersecurity firm Norton has found that younger generations are not as concerned about online harassment as they should be, putting them at increased risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
As many as 34% and 35% of Generation Z (18-25) and Millennials (26-42) said they were not worried about being stalked online by a current or former partner, in stark contrast to only 10% of older adults (58 +) that would be interested.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the study also revealed some of the most common types of online harassment, explaining how those affected may be more vulnerable to cybersecurity issues.
The three most popular methods exploit vulnerabilities that users have placed in their smartphones. They check messages, calls and photos; viewing your search history; and location tracking with apps like Find My.
While this may start with “interesting” searches, Norton explains that this can quickly progress to the installation of stalkerware and creepware apps to covertly monitor activity. More than one in eight Americans is unfamiliar with this type of software, which Norton says is a huge educational opportunity.
The study also found that online dating or romance scams are alarmingly common, to the extent that a quarter of Americans have fallen victim to them. More than half (53%) of these victims also suffered financial losses, averaging $230 per head, and as many as one in 10 Americans were also caught.
Norton Labs Senior CTO Kevin Roundy said:
“We strongly encourage securing devices and personal information to protect privacy, which can be critical not only to cyber security but also to physical and mental well-being.”