Online privacy appears to be a huge concern among students across the UK and US. However, the number of those taking precautions to protect themselves from outside malicious forces does not reflect this.
I came across a report from online privacy and security firm AnchorFree, suggesting that although Millennials are considered more tech-savvy and mobile-connected than older generations, few take action to secure their identities and data online. In a poll among 1,200 students from 523 UK and US colleges and universities, 82% of respondents said they fear their online privacy could be compromised. Nearly half (47%) of students have concerns about keeping their data protected against strangers, and 8% fear it could be accessed by friends. Just 27% of the sample wants to keep their data secured from both outsiders and friends.
Around four in five students are also worried that their online activities could be tracked by university officials, with a third saying that their school has restricted access to some web pages such as video, social media and torrent sites.
When it comes to online security, students seem to be aware of the dangers but show reluctance to take action to prevent themselves from threats. Around three in five of respondents said they have used unsecured public Wi-Fi at least once a month, but only a quarter admitted they always try to secure themselves online by using virtual private network software. Moreover, just 41% of students use a password locker to ensure their passwords and other data are adequately secured.
As 14% of students have been victims of identity theft, AnchorFree is calling on Millennials to take control of private information online to avoid becoming targets of online hackers in the future.