Nearly all (86 percent) over-55s don't believe that they're targets for cyber-criminals.
New research from Kaspersky Lab questioned 12,546 internet users from 21 countries across the globe. Thirteen percent of those surveyed were over-55s, with seven percent aged 55 to 64, and six percent aged 65 or older.
The findings show that the older generation is more likely to install security software on their computers, but less likely to protect their mobile devices or fix their behaviour online to stay safe.
Only 49 percent of over-55s worry about their vulnerability when purchasing products online.
Over-55s use high privacy settings on social media and in their browser less than other age groups (30 percent versus 38 percent). They're also unlikely to use the security functions that come with their device, such as ‘find my device' or VPN, 28 percent and 10 percent respectively compared to 42 percent and 16 percent respectively by users of all ages.
When sharing information, only 35 percent of over-55s double-check messages before sending and only 16 percent avoid sharing information when they're tired, as opposed to 44 percent and 31 percent respectively among the youngest respondents. A worrying 40 percent of over-55s have put themselves at risk by sharing financial details in the public domain, compared to 15 percent across all age groups.
A majority (94 percent) of over-55s use email regularly to communicate with others, compared to an average 87 percent of users across all age groups. This age group is more likely than others to conduct financial transactions online, with 90 percent of them shopping and banking on the internet, compared to an average 84 percent of users across all age groups.
“It's great to see that so many over-55s are using the internet to shop, bank and stay connected with loved ones. The report clearly shows that this generation is embracing a connected life and all of the opportunities that come with it. On the other hand, however, it's clear that the over-55s are not doing enough to protect themselves properly. Worryingly, they don't even believe they are a target for cyber-criminals, but they are putting themselves in danger time and again,” said Andrei Mochola, head of consumer business at Kaspersky Lab.
“Being vigilant online, as well as installing reliable security solutions and ensuring high privacy settings on all devices used to access the internet, will ensure a happy and healthy connected life,” he concluded.