Less than half of surveyed adults understand cybersecurity
For digital natives, we’re surprisingly naive.
Less than half of surveyed adults could pass a quiz testing cybersecurity knowledge and safety practices, even as we hear almost daily reports of cyber-attacks on institutions like the Democratic National Committee, personal photos of Emma Watson getting hacked, or companies like Saks Fifth Avenue accidentally sharing shoppers’ personal information online.
The Pew Research Center quizzed more than 1,000 adults with 13 questions testing their grasp of cybersecurity topics and terms, such as identifying which of four passwords was the strongest, or picking out examples of phishing attacks.
Turns out, we’re not as savvy as we think. The average respondent got less than half of the questions correct, scoring just five out of 13. Only one in five answered more than eight questions correctly, and just 1% got a perfect score.
The good news is, we’re password protective. Some 75% of online adults can ID a strong password – which, for the record, does not contain words in the dictionary; does contain letters, numbers and symbols; and has a combination of both upper and lower case letters. And 73% of us recognize that even password-protected public Wi-Fi networks are not necessarily safe enough to perform sensitive tasks like online banking.
But many web browsers are uncertain about other cybersecurity issues. About half of the respondents recognized that turning their phone’s GPS off does not prevent all tracking of that device, since cell phones can still be tracked by cellular towers and Wi-Fi networks.
Less than half realized all email and all Wi-Fi traffic is not encrypted by default. Only a third were aware that the letter “s” in a URL beginning with “https://” means that traffic on that site is encrypted. And when presented with four images of login screens, only 10% of adults could ID which one demonstrated a true multi-factor authentication process, which generally requires a user to login through a two-step process that taps something a user knows (answering a security question) with something a user owns (a mobile phone or a security token.)
Where do you rank? Take a shortened version of the quiz here.
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