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BizReport : Internet : September 16, 2013

82% of college students concerned online privacy compromised

When online privacy and security firm AnchorFree surveyed U.S. and U.K. students they found that, while many are very concerned about Internet privacy, few did anything to protect themselves.

by Helen Leggatt

College students are among the worlds most digitally and mobile connected, yet a whopping 82% are concerned that their online privacy could be compromised.

According to AnchorFree, this attitude among Millennials runs "counter to common wisdom that Millennials weaned on social media and sharing every aspect of their lives are unconcerned with online privacy".

Among the more than 1,200 students surveyed from 523 U.S. and U.K. colleges, 47% are concerned with keeping their data private only from strangers and just 8% from friends, while just over a quarter (27%) are concerned with keeping their data private from both strangers and friends.

According to David Gorodyansky, CEO of AnchorFree, college students have good reason for concern because they are "more frequently targets of online hackers and identity thieves because of their limited credit and employment histories."

For that reason alone it is critical that college students protect their personal data online, yet many do not. While many of the students surveyed were aware of online threats to their privacy, few seemed willing to take action to prevent such data being compromised.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) admitted to using unsecured Wi-Fi networks at least once a month, yet only 25% protect themselves by implementing virtual private network software. Other findings include:

- Just 41% of students said they use a password locker to protect their passwords and other sensitive data;

- While 85% of students use anti-virus software to protect their computers, but only 35% protect their mobile devices with anti-virus software;

- 14% of college students said they had been victims of identity theft in the past.

Tags: college, cybersecurity, online privacy, students, survey

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