A new survey from the Pew Research Center has further validated an assumption that many people already held: the American public is not great at maintaining strong cybersecurity. Of the 13 questions Pew posed to respondents, only two of the questions featured a significant number of correct answers. Those two questions were about whether participants could identify the most secure password from a list of four (75 percent correct), and whether they knew that public Wi-Fi was not the safest option for protected web browsing (73 percent).
From there, stats drop precipitously. Just over half of respondents could identify a phishing attack. Only 52 percent understood that cell phones can still track location even with GPS disabled (which is honestly higher than I’d have expected).
On encryption, fewer than half of the participants knew that Wi-Fi and email were not encrypted by default, and only a third knew what “HTTPS” indicated when it appears in a URL.
Easily the most terrifying statistic is that only 10 percent of people could identify an example of multifactor authentication when presented with a set of images. While not a perfect solution, MFA is a measure for securing online accounts that all major internet services offer and recommend. That only a fraction of people could even identify it does not bode well for the future.