Check Point Survey Reveals A Generation Gap In Computer Security

More than three-quarters of Gen Y respondents do not follow security best practices

June 23, 2012

5 Min Read


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., June 20, 2012 – Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP), the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, today announced the results of a new ZoneAlarm report revealing differences in the use of computer security between Gen Y and Baby Boomers. The report, The Generation Gap in Computer Security, found that Gen Y is more confident in its security knowledge than Baby Boomers. However, 50 percent of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years compared to less-than-half of Baby Boomers.

The broad adoption of digital media and social networking, combined with the increasing amount of sensitive data that is stored online, is making personal computer security more important than ever before. Yet the ZoneAlarm study reveals that 78 percent of Gen Y respondents do not follow security best practices while cybercriminals are launching new and more sophisticated attacks on consumers every day. In comparison, Baby Boomers are more concerned about security and privacy and twice more likely to protect their computers with additional security software.

“Growing up in the digital age, Gen Y may appear to be a more tech-savvy generation, but that does not translate into safer computer and online practices,” said Tomer Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies. “The ZoneAlarm Study reveals that the most at risk group and prone to online security threats is Gen Y.”

“Gen Y tends to prioritize entertainment and community over security, perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge. For example, they’re more concerned about gaming or other social activities than their online security. They also have less sophisticated security software, and hence, have reported more security problems than other groups, such as Baby Boomers.”

Key Findings from the Report:

· Computer Security Increases in Priority with Age – Only 31 percent of Gen Y rank security as the most important consideration when making decision about their computers in comparison to 58 percent of Baby Boomers. Gen Y prioritizes entertainment and community above security.

· Gen Y is overconfident in its Security Knowledge – Gen Y (63 percent) claims to be more knowledgeable about security when compared to Baby Boomers (59 percent). However, half of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years in comparison to less than half (42 percent) of Baby Boomers.

· Gen Y has Less Sophisticated Security Due to Cost and Technical Barriers - Gen Y respondents are less likely to use paid antivirus, 3rd-party firewalls, or integrated security suites than Baby Boomers. Gen Y (45 percent) view security software as too expensive in comparison to Baby Boomers (37 percent).

· Sensitive Data is Stored on Computers, Yet Most Do Not Follow Security Best Practices – 84 percent of people keep sensitive data, such as tax records, financial info, and passwords, on their computers. However, most users (71 percent), especially Gen Y (78 percent), do not follow security best practices.

“Financial fraud is one of the main driving factors for cybercriminals these days. They are targeting consumers and not just looking to hack into one computer. They seek to use their victims’ PCs to spread attacks and infiltrate a whole community, including family, friends and work,” said Bari Abdul, VP and Head of Check Point’s Consumer Business, ZoneAlarm. “Online attacks spread rapidly now that we’re connected more than ever before through social media. It is imperative that consumers, especially Gen Y, adopt security best practices, and protect their computers with adequate security, which includes at a minimum antivirus and a two-way firewall.”

Check Point protects millions of consumers from viruses, hackers, and identity theft through its award-winning ZoneAlarm solutions. Most recently, Check Point launched ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall, the most complete free Internet security solution for consumers. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall combines the world’s No.1 firewall with award-winning antivirus into one easy-to-use product that protects consumers against online attacks.

The study, The Generation Gap in Computer Security, surveyed 1,245 PC users across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. All respondents who completed the survey had responsibility for purchasing and maintaining their personal desktop or laptop computer. Gen Y is defined as 18- to 25- year olds, and Baby Boomers refers to 56- to 65- year olds. To access the full report, click here . For the latest updates, follow ZoneAlarm on Facebook and Twitter!/zonealarm. For security tips on protecting against the latest social networking risks, visit the ZoneAlarm blog at: About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (, the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, provides customers with uncompromised protection against all types of threats, reduces security complexity and lowers total cost of ownership. Check Point first pioneered the industry with FireWall-1® and its patented stateful inspection technology. Today, Check Point continues to develop new innovations based on the Software Blade Architecture™, providing customers with flexible and simple solutions that can be fully customized to meet the exact security needs of any organization. Check Point is the only vendor to go beyond technology and define security as a business process. Check Point 3D Security uniquely combines policy, people and enforcement for greater protection of information assets and helps organizations implement a blueprint for security that aligns with business needs. Customers include tens of thousands of organizations of all sizes, including all Fortune and Global 100 companies. Check Point's award-winning ZoneAlarm solutions protect millions of consumers from hackers, spyware and identity theft.

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