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Cybersecurity making its mark amongst millennial voters

14/10/2016 by Usha Tyagi


It seems as if the importance of having cybersecurity has certainly made its mark amongst millennials, with many in this age group suggesting that it is a major election issue. A number of high-profile attacks have occurred over the past year, including those at the Democratic National Committee and Yahoo. Now, a new joint survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Raytheon has shown that many consumers are taking the issue extremely seriously.

In the latest survey data, it was found that of those between the ages of 18 and 26, 53 per cent said that a candidate’s position on cybersecurity affected the level of support that they would gain. In fact, 47 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men explained that cybersecurity issues had the power to sway their vote. Overall, the study found that awareness of cybersecurity risks had grown throughout this age group over the past 12 months, with 64 per cent of people saying that they had heard or read about accounts of cybercrime. This compares to just 36 per cent in 2015.

NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser said: “I think, to me, these findings represent how important the internet is in young people’s lives. They are living in an atmosphere and see in this particular campaign a lot of discussions of emails being hacked and potential election systems being hacked. It speaks to integrity. It shows that these young people have lived through a lot of big security breaches, and in a breach-heavy environment, this is an important issue to them. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much cybersecurity is on their minds, how they’re using it to think about the candidates.”

One of the reasons that this trend may be emerging is that millennials have grown up with the internet and are therefore more tuned into cybersecurity risks. Raytheon Director of Cybersecurity and Special Missions Valecia Maclin explained that this generation get much of their news from social media and the web. This means that online security is more likely to be on their radar.

Maclin also said that, for half of those surveyed, there has not been enough focus on cybersecurity throughout the US presidential campaign. “I think with the 60-second snapshots of these issues that get peeled out from what someone may mention on the campaign trail, I don’t know that I would use that as form to educate people about cybersecurity one way or another.”




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