Generation Z Cyber Crime In The 21st Century
Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka|August 10, 2020
Generation Z Cyber Crime In The 21st Century
I was, as I am most certain others of my generation are, convinced that I knew enough about the internet to stay safe, and that I was less vulnerable to cyber criminals than my parents or my grandparents are. It was therefore shocking for me to discover that Gen Zs (Generation Z, born 1997-2012) and millennial (1981-1996) pose - as well as face - the greatest cyber risk, not only to themselves but to the companies and institutions they work for and interact with, and also to the people they associate with.
Serika Siriwardhana

Growing up digital natives - with a considerable portion of our formative years with access to the internet, Gen Zs and millennial are far more reckless with our information, what we share online, and who we give our personal information to. That quiz you took last week that told you to answer a few simple questions to find out ‘what sort of bread you are’... could well be stealing your data. In 2018, through just one Facebook quiz alone, over 60,000 Facebook users’ data was compromised by hackers. Admittedly, a quiz exposing you to cyber crimes is less likely, but what about the fact that you’ve been using the same three passwords for the past five years for all sites you sign into (akin to using the same key for your front door, car, safe, and workplace)? Or the fact that you’ve told your best friend or your significant other your instagram password (leaving said key in your postbox and letting everyone know)? Or the fact that you keep pressing “remind me later” when your computer prompts you to update it? While this may have a multitude of implications for your safety online - such as leaving you vulnerable to identity theft, blackmail and even financial loss - it is likely to have even greater repercussions in and on your workplace.

A study shows that 70% of employers aren’t confident about their cyber security holding up under the influx of millennials soon to enter the workforce. 1 in 10 millennials (aged 18-24) fell victim to phishing scams, compared to 1 in 20 Boomers (over 55 years old) with millennials losing around 5% of their income to scams every year.

The reason for millennials’ and Gen Zs’ cavalier attitude to internet safety stems mostly from the fact that they don’t believe their information is of sufficient interest or value to attract theft. Studies show that nearly 25% of millennials surveyed considered themselves not ‘interesting enough’ to be targets of cyber criminals. I too am certainly guilty of thinking this, but every piece of information is interesting and of value to people wishing to access it - whether it be to collect your preferences, sell your internet habits to companies (data mining), or scam you financially. With an average attention span of 8 seconds, and the constant need (craving even) for instant gratification, millennials and Gen Zs hardly stop to consider the ramifications of their internet activity. While the older generation would be more cautious about which online stores they give their information to, or with whom they share their passwords, we hardly give it a second thought.


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August 10, 2020