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Young Internet users are not protecting themselves sufficiently online

Only 1 Belgian in 3 feels secure online. Even more remarkable: 18-34 year olds, the so-called "digital natives", feel in danger more than the over-65s. And yet, the young generation is not doing enough to protect itself online. That’s the conclusion of a survey conducted by security company, SpotIT, which interviewed 1 034 Belgians. These results reinforce the importance of our mission to help Belgian Internet users to go online in total security.

Fear of the unknown

In the online survey, 29% of 18-34 year olds said that they don’t feel safe at all online. This percentage was slightly lower among the over-65s, at 24%.

As for their knowledge of cybercrime, the young generation does not score any better than the over-65s. For instance, the majority of 18-34 year olds do not know how to recognise a fake website and most of them have never heard of phishing or ransomware. Also, 7 out of 10 young people are not capable of determining whether a public wi-fi network is secure or not. But that doesn’t stop 3 out of 10 of them using non-secure online access points, free of charge, when they are outside the home.

Bad habits

This lack of knowledge can also be seen in the form of bad security habits. 70% of the youngsters surveyed said that they were insufficiently or poorly protected when they go online. For example, barely 22% of them would use a password manager, while only 33% would use two-step verification. And although only half of them said they had installed an adblocker function, almost 70% claimed they had installed antivirus software.

The threat is real

However, the likelihood of becoming the victim of cybercriminals, sooner or later, is far from non-existent. 62% of the Belgians interviewed stated that they had received an e-mail or telephone call from online fraudsters in the past year trying to steal a user name, password or credit card number. 18% had been victims of a virus or some form of malware.

Stay alert!

Online security starts with you. Remember to take precautions to outsmart cybercrims. Here are a few basic rules:

  • Use different, strong passwords for each of your accounts. A password manager can help you to remember them all.
  • Activate two-step verification to prevent fraudsters from accessing your accounts.
  • Never click on attachments or links in e-mails or messages without thinking first.
  • Protect your computer with antivirus software.
  • Keep all of your devices up to date.
  • Avoid using public wi-fi networks for sensitive transactions, such as payments.

Want to find out what your online weak points are so that you can protect yourself better? Take our test and read our tips and advice.