Survey: Baby Boomers Worry About Cybersecurity But Most Shrug Off Their Role In It

Dmytro Zinkevych/

Only 38 percent of people born between 1946 and 1964 said they'll take steps to better secure work and personal devices.

Baby boomers and millennials differ significantly in their attitudes toward federal cyber programs, a survey suggests.

Across the board, 55 percent percent of respondents in an Accenture Federal Survey said the government needs to be more transparent about citizens’ data; 56 percent that it should communicate data breaches in real time, and 57 percent said the federal government should invest more in data security.

But respondents didn’t seem to agree on the level of support they’d provide for federal efforts to improve cyber.

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About 57 percent of millennials, or those born between 1979 and 1997, said they were willing to take greater responsibility for the cybersecurity of their work and personal devices, such as installing security patches, according to the survey. But just 38 percent of baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, said they’d do so, according to the poll of about 500 people living in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. About 55 percent of those born between 1965 and 1978 said they’d take more responsibility for their own cybersecurity.  

Millennials are also more likely to hand over their biometric data, like fingerprints and iris scans, to the government for identity verification. About 26 percent of millennials said they’d be willing to do so, compared to 19 percent of baby boomers. Those born after 1998 were the least likely to agree, with just 14 percent supporting biometric identification.

Baby boomers were also less enthusiastic about cybersecurity training. Just 37 percent said they’d take cyber literacy training, compared to 57 percent of millennials; they also were less likely to participate in public cyber reporting programs, with 19 percent agreeing, compared to 30 percent of millennials.

Respondents didn’t particularly support hackathons and bug bounty programs, which ask the public to participate in finding security flaws for prizes. Just 10 percent of baby boomers said they’d participate in such programs, compared to 14 percent of millennials.