Millennials: The Next Big Threat to Cybersecurity

Millennials are the first generation to grow up alongside technology, so, naturally, they should feel confident using it. But, maybe not too confident.


Some experts tend to view millennials as the next big threat to cybersecurity because of their relaxed attitude towards privacy. Others don’t see any difference between their behavior and that of other generations. Are millennials really that careless when it comes to online privacy? Let’s take a look at some statistics behind the relationship of millennials and cybersecurity.

Digital troublemakers

Social media provides an abundance of personal information cybercriminals may use for breaking into an online bank account or launching a phishing attack. As devoted users of social media, millennials are well aware of the dangers, but they continue oversharing personal information. Moreover, this risky behavior goes beyond just ignoring terms and conditions: 16% of millennials accept social media invites from strangers “most of the time”.


Millennials neglect security restrictions

Despite their tech-savviness, millennials often ignore the business ethics of security when using technology. The majority of companies allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes, yet personal devices rarely have the same level of protection as a corporate firewall.


Cybersecurity statistics reveal a huge increase in hacked and breached data from sources common in the workplace, like mobile and IoT devices. Additionally, millennials tend to seek security workarounds: 56% of them admit they’re likely to avoid workplace security restrictions. That’s more than half!


Unlike the somewhat rebellious millennials, the older generations such as the Baby Boomers and Gen Xs show the least risky behavior in the workplace. As revealed in the 2020 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report, 90% of 45-54-year-olds and 55-64-year-olds follow their companys’ cybersecurity policy.


Millennials’ concerns about cybersecurity

Millennials may seem careless, but they do have their concerns about cybersecurity issues. In fact, 72.8% of millennials believe they can be targets for hacker attacks, while 40,8% of the younger generation Z don’t think they can. Who’s careless now?


The USA Today survey revealed how the vast majority of millennials are pretty concerned with their financial information being stolen or compromised. However, 53% rarely change the password to their financial accounts.


Speaking of passwords, millennials have the worst password reuse habits of all demographics: 85% admit to reusing the same credentials for online accounts. However, older generations are not far behind: 79% of Gen X and 74% of Boomers reuse passwords across websites and services. This habit obviously runs in the family.

Cybersecurity training and careers for millennials

Yes, the stats don’t make millennials look good, but maybe they can be taught to behave more securely on the internet? Well, millennials and Gen Xs are said to be less interested in receiving security training through “gamification”. However, both generations prefer online training.


In fact, online courses can be an excellent option for getting acquainted with staying secure online. At the same time, advanced training programs can be useful for freelancers and anyone considering starting a career in cybersecurity.


Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand

Let’s consider these numbers: by 2022, there will be 1,8 million open jobs in the cybersecurity sector, but the average age of cybersecurity professionals is 42. Will millennials fill the workplaces when Gen Xs retire? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like it. 91% of millennials are not interested in a cybersecurity career.


The reason it’s challenging to attract millennials is mostly due to their lack of awareness. You see, there are no popular bloggers or Instagram influencers with expertise in cybersecurity, so it flies under the radar of the younger generation as a potential career.


The top 10 cybersecurity courses and certification programs

Still, we don't lose hope.That’s why Clario has compiled a list of courses and educational programs for millennials (and other generations, too). If you want to get familiar with cybersecurity concepts or start a cybersecurity career, you should definitely try them out.


  1. The Cyber Security Course for Beginners - Level 101 on Udemy will be useful for anyone wanting to learn about the basic cybersecurity approaches and safety measures.
  2. Another Udemy course, Cyber Security Crash Course for Beginners: Learn from Scratch, shares key practices around cybersecurity and cryptography.
  3. Introduction to Cybersecurity on Future Learn is the course for newbies accredited by the UK government intelligence organization GCHQ and The Institute of Information Security Professionals.
  4. Infosec offers 100+ courses and certification programs on cybersecurity for beginners and professionals. Additionally, they provide training programs for organizations looking to encourage their employees’ cybersecurity awareness.
  5. Cybrary is an online library for cybersecurity enthusiasts offering almost 500 courses for free.
  6. The US Department of Homeland Security provides free training programs for anyone interested in cybersecurity.
  7. Open Security Training is a free hub for a range of beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes on cybersecurity.
  8. Apple features certification programs on specific cybersecurity issues for macOS.
  9. ISC (2) certification is a must for anyone wanting to build a career in cybersecurity. This is the first step to becoming a Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).
  10. EC-Council offers a wide range of certifications and several introductory programs. Its Ultimate Ethical Hacking Course trains information security professionals through hacking tools and malware used by hackers, but with good intentions.

* * *


Millennials are not the only demographic to demonstrate potentially risky online behavior — every generation doesn’t behave as securely as they could. And instead of being alarmed about millennials’ reckless online habits, we should seek ways to help and share advice with them and other online users. You know, using password managers, two-factor authentication, and cybersecurity training can make a big difference.


If you’re looking to find out more about cybersecurity for all generations, check out our compilation of insightful TED talks on security and privacy and Clario’s essential guide on preventing data breaches. Read Clario’s blog to stay informed about cybersecurity issues and the best practices for avoiding them and stay safe!

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