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Report: Youth Won’t Save Government from Bad Cyber Hygiene

A new survey of government office workers across the world found that “digital natives” — those who grew up with modern technology — are actually more likely than older employees to exhibit bad password habits.

Smiling young African American businesswoman working on a laptop at her desk in a bright modern office with colleagues in the background
For those who grew up with smartphones, technology tends to come naturally — except when it comes to password hygiene, apparently.

A new report from the cybersecurity and IT asset management company Ivanti, in which it surveyed about 800 government office workers across the world, found that younger employees were more likely to use the same or similar passwords for multiple devices or accounts. They were also more likely to share passwords between personal and work accounts.
The survey also found that those in leadership positions demonstrated worse cyber hygiene than others. They were more than four times as likely to have clicked on a phishing link and five times as likely to share passwords with people outside their organization. Leaders also take longer to change passwords and use easy-to-find information such as birthdays in their passwords, according to the report.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Respondents rated the complexity of their organizations’ tech stacks as the single biggest barrier to security excellence, followed closely by a lack of cybersecurity skills.
  • Only 61 percent of respondents worldwide said their organizations mandate cybersecurity training; in the U.S. that rises to 78 percent.
  • Half of respondents reported that their organizations were entirely or mostly in-office, with the rest engaging in some mix of remote work. The percentages were mostly consistent between the U.S. and global average.
  • Nearly half of security professionals said they lack high visibility into all users, devices, applications and services on their networks.