A new study commissioned by cybersecurity firm Norton has revealed that younger generations are less concerned about online stalking, putting them at increased risk of falling victim to scams.
A whopping 34% and 35% of Gen Z (18-25) and Millennials (26-42) respectively reported that they were not concerned about being stalked online by a current or former partner, a stark contrast to only 10% of the older adults (58+) who would be concerned.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, the study also revealed some of the most common forms of online stalking, and explained how affected individuals may be more susceptible to cybersecurity issues.
Three of the most popular methods exploit vulnerabilities that users have placed on themselves with their smartphones. They monitor messages, calls and photos; browsing search history; and location tracking with apps like Find My.
While it may start with “curious” searches, Norton explains that this can quickly lead to installing stalkerware and creepware apps to stealthily track activity. More than one in eight Americans is unfamiliar with this kind of software, which Norton says is a huge opportunity for education.
Moving further away from our own families and relationships (past or present), the study also found that online scams related to dating or romance are alarmingly commonplace, to the point that a quarter of Americans have fallen victim to them. More than half (53%) of these victims also suffered financial losses, averaging $230 per capita, while as many as one in 10 Americans were also catfished.
Norton Labs Senior Technical Director Kevin Roundy said:
“We strongly recommend securing your devices and personal information to help protect your privacy, which can be critical not only to your cybersecurity, but also to your physical and mental well-being.”