A new survey reveals 39% of participants express frustration and 37% feel intimidated by the process of staying secure online.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) and CybSafe, recently released the Oh Behave! The Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report 2023 supported by Iris Powered by Generali and conducted in partnership with CERT-NZ. 

Polling more than 6,000 individuals across the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, France and New Zealand, the research examined key cybersecurity behaviors, attitudes and trends ahead of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The survey findings highlight a shift in how Americans view cybersecurity as more people understand the importance of staying safe online. A significant majority (79%) now recognize multi-factor authentication (MFA) and 70% within this group are actively using it to enhance their online security on a regular basis. However, despite these positive trends, there are concerns about access to adequate training; based on the survey only 44% of participants in the United States reported having access to cybersecurity training programs.

Key report highlights

  • Within the U.S., there has been a growth in cybersecurity awareness, with 79% of respondents demonstrating familiarity with MFA. Notably, a majority (70%) of those who have heard of the security measure know how to use MFA and regularly incorporate it into their online security measures, underscoring their growing dedication to safeguarding their digital accounts. Moreover, the adoption of password managers has made significant headway, with 38% of Americans utilizing these tools to bolster password security. These findings indicate that Americans are increasingly well-informed and proactive in their cybersecurity endeavors.
  • In the U.S., 61% of respondents demonstrate a strong commitment to staying informed about security updates by consistently updating their software and applications, with 33% doing it always and an additional 28% doing it very often. Additionally, 69% express confidence in their ability to identify phishing attempts, signifying improved awareness of digital threats. The survey also showed 51% of Americans actively report cybercrimes, particularly instances of phishing.
  • The survey found 39% of participants expressed frustration and 37% felt intimidated by the process of staying secure online. These sentiments were felt globally and underscore the need for user-friendly cybersecurity solutions, or solutions that are secure by design and secure by default, meaning security is happening behind the scenes and doesn’t require action by the end-user. 
  • In the U.S., 61% of participants expressed apprehension about becoming victims of cybercrime. Americans were the most targeted of all the countries surveyed, with 36% of respondents acknowledging they have been victims of one or more cybercrimes. These fears of falling victim to cybercrime are felt worldwide as there was a 7% increase in the overall number of people who felt they may become victims of cybercrime compared to last year. The survey also found that half of the participants across the nations surveyed thought they were potential targets for cybercriminals, underscoring the necessity for continued efforts to bolster cybersecurity measures.
  • The data shows that despite their understanding of online risks and security measures, and even with the highest access to cyber training (56% of Gen Z and 50% of Millennials), this group faces a higher rate of cybercrime victimization. 43% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials reported being victims of cybercrimes, while 20% of the Silent Generation and 15% of Baby Boomers reported being victims.