About the cyber fears survey
NordVPN commissioned a survey to find out what cybercrime people fear most. It was carried out by Cint, a global research technology provider, in 2023. It consists of 12 questions about cyber threats, including identity theft, financial fraud, IoT hacking, and cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. The survey helps us to understand how cyber fears affect different age groups, from the silent generation to Gen Z.
The research was conducted in eight countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
What are the key findings?
Most British internet users consider identity theft and financial cybercrimes the most dangerous. Other cybersecurity fears, however, depend heavily on generational differences. Let’s take a look at the survey results to better understand Brits’ cybersecurity fears.
Brits are most afraid of financial fraud and identity theft
Brits’ biggest cybersecurity fears relate to the theft of their bank credentials or payment card information (68%). According to the NordVPN survey, more than a third of Brits are afraid of the theft of their identity or National Insurance number (46%). While financial fraud and identity theft are the main cybersecurity fears of British people, other cybercrimes are strongly influenced by the age of internet users.
“Cybersecurity fears are heavily influenced by the different ways generations perceive and use technology, personal experiences, and historical context, among other factors. So a generational gap in the perception of dangers online is unavoidable,” says Marijus Briedis, CTO at NordVPN.
What are the generational differences?
Research reveals that the biggest differences are seen between the silent generation and Generation Z. While Gen Z is more concerned about the theft of their photos and videos (28%), this worries only a minority (9%) of the silent generation and almost 12% of baby boomers.
Similar tendencies occurred when respondents were asked about a hacker taking control of their webcams and CCTV cameras: Only 10% of baby boomers and 11% of the silent generation expressed concern. In comparison, over a third of Generation Z (35%) internet users didn’t feel confident about the safety of their webcams and CCTVs.
The older generations’ cyber fears include a hacker infecting their devices with viruses or other malware: 68% of the silent generation and 59% of baby boomers. On the other hand, just over a third of Gen Z (36%) and almost a third of millennials (31%) mention these among the most frightening cybercrimes.
The survey also reveals some significant generational differences regarding losing access to files on a computer. While 59% of the silent generation and 44% of baby boomers expressed fear about losing computer access and files due to cyberattacks, only 24% of Gen Z respondents share the same attitude.
Interestingly, the study revealed that younger individuals are more concerned about the safety of their health information. Nearly a quarter of Gen Z respondents (21%) mentioned health data theft among the most dangerous cyber threats, while only 9% of baby boomers see it as a severe online danger.
How to protect your data from cybercrimes
Keeping your data safe is not as difficult as it may seem. Implementing a thorough cybersecurity routine for your digital life can help you safeguard your personal information, identity, and the funds in your bank account. Tips to up your cybersecurity game include:
- Always ensure your software is up to date. The most recent updates often shield your device against new threats.
- Regularly back up your essential files.
- Make your passwords complex and diverse across your online accounts.
- Implement multi-factor authentication.
- Invest in reputable antivirus software.
- Secure your home network.
- Stay vigilant. Knowledge is power, so no phishing attempt is a threat if you know how to recognize it.
How can NordVPN help?
NordVPN can help you stay safer online, block trackers, and avoid ads. It is one of the world’s most advanced VPN service providers, used by millions of internet users worldwide. NordVPN offers double VPN encryption to hide your activity behind two servers instead of one. It also features a Dark Web Monitor that continuously scans the dark web and notifies you about exposed account data so you can take immediate action. Another distinct feature that NordVPN has to offer is Threat Protection, which detects malicious websites and malware during downloads. NordVPN is user friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, and has over 5,000 servers in 60 countries worldwide.
This research was commissioned by NordVPN and carried out by Cint between July 7 and August 5, 2023. A total of 1,013 respondents 18 years old and older were surveyed. Researchers placed quotas on respondents’ gender, age, and place of residence to achieve a nationally representative sample among internet users.