More than half of working adults don't know what ransomware is

New research has revealed that 64 per cent of working adults don't know what ransomware is raising concerns over the general public's understanding of cybersecurity risks.

Wombat Security, a division of Proofpoint, recently released its 2018 User Risk Report that surveyed 6,000 working adults in Germany, France, Italy, the UK, the US and Australia to better understand how end-user actions and capabilities affect device, data and system security.

The report was based on testing respondents on their understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals including their knowledge of phishing, ransomware, Wi-Fi security, password management and social media use. 

Wombat Security found that many respondents had a limited understanding of common cybersecurity risks with 64 per cent unsure of what ransomware was and 32 per cent admitting they did not understand malware.

The survey found that 67 per cent knew about phishing, 36 per cent knew about ransomware and 68 per cent understood malware. When it came to password usage, 33 per cent of respondents said they used a password manager and 21 per cent of those that do not said they use the same one or two passwords for all of their accounts.

Poor personal cybersecurity practices

In terms of personal cybersecurity, many respondents failed to take the proper security cautions in their own lives which could certainly present a number of issues for companies that allow their employees to bring their own devices to work.

When it came to securing their wireless networks, 44 per cent admitted to not password protecting their home Wi-Fi networks and 66 per cent had not changed the default password on their routers. Additionally, 55 per cent of those surveyed whose employer gives them a device admitted to allowing their friends and family members to access the device.

The poor security habits of many respondents to Wombat Security's survey highlight the need for organisations to better educate their employees on the risks of online threats and the proper security measures that must be taken.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.