Careers Opportunities in the Information Technology (IT) Sector | Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

How to stay safe online

Students concerned with threats to online privacy but failing to act

A survey reveals 4 out of 5 students are concerned with threats online but only 1 in 4 regularly use security software to protect their browsing

LONDON – A massive 82 per cent of university students in the UK and across the Atlantic are very concerned about their privacy and security online, but few are taking action to protect themselves, according to survey released today by AnchorFree.

The privacy and security pioneer surveyed 1200 students from 523 universities. Of these, 82 per cent reported worries about their online privacy being violated, with 47 per cent wishing to keep their data private from strangers, and 27 per cent wanting their personal information to be protected from friends as well.
Academic reputation and future prospects were a key concern for many students when it comes to online privacy: almost four out of five were concerned that university officials were monitoring their online activity and 68 per cent reported being "very” or "extremely” concerned that their behviour online could impact future employment opportunities.

However, despite their awareness of cyber threats, the survey results reveal that students are unwilling to take preventative action. Of those surveyed, 62 per cent admitted to using unsecured public Wi-Fi at least once a month, but only 25 per cent always protected themselves online with a technology such as a virtual private network (VPN) service.

David Gorodyansky, CEO of AnchorFree, maker of Hotspot Shield VPN, comments: "The results of this research run counter to common wisdom that "Millennials,” brought up using social media and sharing every aspect of their lives, are unconcerned with online privacy.

"College students all over the world tend to be among the most mobile and digitally connected. On top of that they are more frequently targets of online hackers and identity thieves because of their limited credit and employment histories. It is critical that they take control of their personal information online.”

Other key findings from the survey:
•             85 per cent of students use anti-virus software to protect their computers, yet only 35 per cent protect their mobile devices with anti-virus software.
•             14 per cent of participants said they had been victims of identity theft in the past. The average cost and time spent on resolving each case of identity theft was about $300 and 33 hours, they reported.
•             Only 41 per cent of students surveyed use a password locker to protect their passwords and other sensitive data.

AnchorFree’s award-winning Hotspot Shield personal VPN, the most trusted VPN service with 150 million downloads, is used by students throughout the world to secure their online information.
In addition to secure and private browsing, Hotspot Shield helps college students save money on their mobile data plans through proprietary data compression. Since launch, Hotspot Shield products have saved mobile users more than 120 million megabytes of data, protected users from more than 30 billion potential malware threats and encrypted more than 50 billion page views.