Older and younger generations are targeted differently by cyber attackers based on the primary device they use to go online.
A new report from the digital security and privacy firm Avast revealed that a majority of those aged 55-64 (58%) and over 65 (69%) primarily use their desktop computer or laptop to go online.
This makes them more susceptible to ransomware, tech support scams, spyware/trojans and botnets, which can be accidentally or unknowingly downloaded or accessed via links in emails or through malicious websites.
In contrast, younger generations mainly use their smartphone to go online (18-24 - 78%; 25-34 - 80%; 35-44 - 76%) making them targets for adware, mobile banking trojans, downloader and FluBot SMS scams spreading malware, and Instagram and TikTok scams promoting adware apps or fleeceware.
Across all devices, younger and older generations are also targets for phishing attacks and romance scams. The research forms a part of a comprehensive global study with YouGov into digital citizenship trends.
Cyber criminals often take into account how younger and older generations use different devices to launch targeted attacks, adapting them to current cultural and usage trends to make them more relevant and likely to hit their mark.
The most important internet activity for 18-24-year-olds is using social media (37%). For 25-34-year-olds, it’s staying in contact with friends and family via messenger services and emails (37%), and for 35-44-year-olds, it’s banking and finance activities (43%).
This shows why the younger generation is targeted on their smartphone with scams on Instagram and TikTok, FluBot SMS and email phishing scams that look like they have come from friends or family and mobile banking trojans.
In comparison, the most important activities for the older generation are banking and finance activities (55-64: 56%, 65+: 61%), followed by staying in contact with friends and family via messenger services and email (55-64: 40%, 65+: 47%), and using a search engine (55-64: 42%, 65+: 44%).
This helps to explain why they are more likely to be targeted for major threats on computers including ransomware, email phishing scams and spyware/Trojans targeting their finances, and tech support scams. M