Nearly half of millennials use the same password for all accounts

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ESET’s second cyber-savviness report compares the cybersecurity risks, behaviours and concerns for millennials and baby-boomers in Australia and New Zealand.

ESET, a global pioneer in IT security, has found millennials are riskier online at home and in the workplace compared to baby-boomers. Almost 1 in 5 baby-boomers would keep the same password for all their accounts on personal devices, in comparison to nearly half of millennials (46%). Baby-boomers are also more aware of best cybersecurity practices and how to keep company information safe, in comparison to millennials.

ESET’s whitepaper analyses the results of a survey of more than 1,300 online users across Australia and New Zealand, and is titled “ESET Australia and New Zealand cyber-savviness report 2016 part 2: The differences in cybersecurity practices across generations.”

Millennials are avid social media users. The report highlights that almost three-quarters (71%) are signed into accounts at all times on their personal devices, compared to about half of that (35%) among 55-65 year olds. 40% of millennials also stated they would accept any social media request, in comparison to less than half of that (17%) among 55-65 year olds.

Lukas Raska, APAC COO of ESET, comments, “Unexpectedly, older generations are demonstrating higher standards in understanding and following best cybersecurity practices than younger generations. From the survey results, it is clear millennials are as technologically skilled and fast to adopt new technologies as we would suspect, but this depth of knowledge is not resulting in cyber-safe actions. To ensure optimal safety for all consumers and businesses, we need to create a proper processes and technology initiatives for millennials to take cybersecurity risks seriously and act accordingly.”

Nick FitzGerald, ESET Senior Research Fellow, thinks this behaviour among millennials reflects the rapid pace of change in the technology industry, though is putting consumers in this generation at significant risk.  

“While some may be surprised by this finding, it is in line with similar research we have conducted in other markets throughout APAC. Millennials are the first generation of ‘digital natives’ and with that, they have developed a level of scepticism both around the security and privacy of their online activities as well as, crucially, to their ability to control that. Feeling unable to improve their own security and privacy, many seem to just accept the situation, and rarely bother with the hassles of changing their behaviour. It’s important to recognise, however, that these things can be controlled, and it starts by taking preventative measures like following best cybersecurity practices and using cybersecurity services,” says FitzGerald.

Additionally, the survey shows the very careless behaviour of millennials with public Wi-Fi, as 77% do not hesitate to get access when it is available. Knowing the high risks of using public Wi-Fi, it seems millennials are unaware this is how hackers commonly steal private information, bank account details and more.

FitzGerald reminds consumers of the real risks: “Millennials are constantly demanding public Wi-Fi access, especially when travelling. However, most public Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted and can become an easy gateway for hackers to reach personal or professional information. Millennials too often overlook the major risks with personal safety and data security, instead prioritising ease of use and increasing accessibility.”

“It is good to see baby-boomers are taking extra care to protect their personal information. There’s a common misconception that older generations are less tech-savvy than younger generations, but our findings actually show that when it comes to safety, baby-boomers are much savvier than millennials,” added FitzGerald.

To see the full report, please click here.


About ESET

Since 1987, ESET® has been developing award-winning security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfolio covers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires. For more information visit or follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.