Young adults can often be heard saying how out of touch their parents are and that they live in the Stone Age. Generation Y, as they are known, have the reputation of being highly technologically savvy. However, perhaps members of Gen Y should stop making jokes at their parents’ expense. A recent study released by
, Check Point Software Technologies’ consumer business, shows that Baby Boomers have a higher security awareness than their offspring. Forty two percent of Gen Y respondents said their computers had contracted viruses in the past two years. In contrast, 35% of Baby Boomers admitted their computers had caught a virus during that same time period.
The survey revealed that Generation Y, defined as adults between 18-24, value entertainment and community over security. In ZoneAlarm’s questionnaire, “entertainment” was defined as the use of music, video and game websites and applications. Bari Abdul, head of ZoneAlarm, speculated that members of Gen Y care more about entertainment and community because these two things have been priorities for them up until this point in their lives. The Gen Y cohort grew up playing video games on a console, Abdul explained, and they have now made the progression to playing games on the Internet. And social media is important to the 18-24 year old set because “it’s a great tool to manage a large circle of friends,” Abdul added.
Gen Y’s prioritization of community and entertainment has negative implications for their computer security. “They’ll have more security issues,” Bari remarked. These security issues, such as viruses, hacked computers or identity theft, might also affect the rest of their online and offline networks. Juanita Mo, PR manager at ZoneAlarm, told the story of an acquaintance whose computer was hacked. The hacking affected the computers in his family’s network. Bari noted that Gen Y habits such as surfing social media sites at the office makes work computers more vulnerable to malware.