Are Generation Y 'careless' in their use of Wi-Fi?

Are Generation Y 'careless' in their use of Wi-Fi?

Summary: Are the iGeneration considering the full security implications of free wireless networks?


Public Wi-Fi services are being expanded across the West -- from entire cities using smart grid technology to support wireless connection for its citizens, to stores offering access to the Internet in return for buying a coffee or book.

However, do the younger generation consider the security implications of using such networks?

Apparently, the younger generation may not.

In its bi-annual Security Index survey, Unisys has highlighted that while the use of public Wi-Fi is on the rise, the security concerns of certain age groups may not be reflected in reality.

The 18 - 34 age group in New Zealand was found to be more likely than any other generation to take advantage of free public Wi-Fi. Almost half of respondents -- 45 percent -- stating they have used such services in the past year.

In the survey, 15 percent of this age group in NZ stated they had performed work-related activities through free wireless networks, which was twice as many as those aged 35 years and over. However, it was the younger group which also demonstrated the most concern about personal security -- 70 percent of which stating they were "extremely" or "very concerned" about protecting their data and preventing unauthorized access.

In Australia, the trend of using free, public Wi-Fi networks stands firm -- but young Australians are likely to be the least concerned about the misuse of their personal information in contrast to young New Zealand citizens.

54 percent of Australians aged 18-34 years had used free public Wi-Fi in the last year, in comparison to 32 percent of respondents aged 35 years and over. In Australia, the national average of those very concerned about unauthorized access to their data is 54 percent according to the survey -- and only 44 percent of the younger age bracket demonstrated this concern.

As Computerworld notes, there does appear to be a slight bias toward a lack of attention by 18 - 34 year olds. Unisys said:

"Those aged 18-34 years are less likely to take precautions (62 percent [not taking adequate care]) than the average, and significantly less than those aged 35-49 years (52 percent).

"They are slightly more likely to take precautions than those aged 50+years (63 percent) but that could be because those aged 50+ years don’t use mobile devices or the internet as much as younger people."

If young people insist on using free, public Wi-Fi services, then they must consider using appropriate precautions. Some ways to achieve this include locking portable devices with complex passwords, using virtual private networks (VPNs) when possible to protect sensitive company information and remaining up-to-date with security software and patches.

Image credit: Wayda Dreamscape


Topics: Wi-Fi, Networking, Security, New Zealand

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  • Nope "they" don't protect it.

    It's not the age that matters, just the awareness. Most non-tech people see malware as minor nusance that slows their computers down. Younger non-techies tend to be bolder in accessing many websites and downloading software, however social media as brought intrest to many older generations who are still discovering modern commuting.

    people just want things to work with out much effort or issues. Many times means a password less, encrytionless, and full of vunerabilites to exploit computer. "They" are the perfect targets of online attackers.

    "they" click "OK" on popups just to get them out of sight. Unfortunately for them the malware has already been installed
  • We're in a new tech cycle

    When major changes in tech occur, the first issue is getting it to work. You can have all the security in the world, but if the product does not work, nobody cares. So the cycle goes. New tech, low security. Bad guys catch on and start hacking. Major security breaches occur. Security is improved. Next big thing comes along. Repeat.
  • She's a Millenial

    It's kind of like astrology, except instead of using birth month to determine your sign, we use birth year to predict how you'll behave. It's all very scientific.
    Robert Hahn
    • Yep, stupidity is not a function of age

      Otherwise we'd be thinking you were stupid Charlie ;-)

      Really these artificial division by age are becoming a little annoying and the belief that each generation is somehow "special" is a meme that needs to fade away.

      The counts of the indictment are luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise. ???

      Children began to be the tyrants, not the slaves, of their households. They no longer rose from their seats when an elder entered the room; they contradicted their parents, chattered before company, gobbled up the dainties at table, and committed various offences against Hellenic tastes, such as crossing their legs. They tyrannised over the paidagogoi and schoolmasters.

      Kenneth John Freeman summarising the complaints from classical times in 1907

      Gen Y - get over yourselves ;-)
  • Meaningless...

    "that could be because those aged 50+ years don???t use mobile devices or the internet as much as younger people.???

    Do you think? Nobody that I know care about, thinks about, or even knows anything about WiFi security. It's got nothing to do with age - it's just the fact that younger people are much more likely to have mobile devices and use them heavily over WiFi. How are people supposed to know about WiFi security? Is there a class in school? Does the store teach you about it when you buy the device? The point is, there is no mechanism in place to teach people about wireless security. And most people don't even know there's an issue, so they don't bother to try to learn on their own. They just assume that if they use their device on the Internet through WiFi, they have a secure connection. How would they know any differently?
  • this is exactly why...

    we should have consumerization of IT, it will bring much more secure, standard and managable practices into the major corporations.

    /sarcasm off
  • Are Generation Y 'careless' in their use of Wi-Fi?

    I would say yes but because of a lack of knowledge of what could happen on free wi-fi networks.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • It doesn't matter...

    Apple has told me time and time again that "it's secure" I don't have to worry about things like that
  • A single word can explain it all: FACEBOOK

    Just look at the posting of GenY in Facebook and you will see how completely clueless about security and privacy most are.

    Then they get mad when a posting get them into some trouble.