Are men and women significantly different when it comes to cyber-safety?
The answer is both yes and no!
All else being equal, men and women don’t display any significant difference in terms of their vulnerability to cyberattacks. There are, however, are some key differences in the types of attacks that men and women are more likely to experience.
How does your gender affect your online safety and data privacy? The answer may surprise you.
The Gender Gap in Cyber-Attacks
Does this surprise you? Men are more likely to be targeted by phishing attacks, while women are more likely to be targeted by social engineering attacks. Men are also more likely to be victims of malware attacks, while women are more likely to be victims of identity theft.
This isn’t because we all have some kind of ingrained weakness to different cybercriminal techniques at birth! Rather, men and women tend to occupy different social roles, and bad actors do tailor their threat tactics to particular demographics. For example, they might send different emails based on what websites you frequent; or depending on the industry you work in. Remember, these trends are general and there are many exceptions. Just because you don’t fit the traditional demographic for a scam, doesn’t mean they don’t happen it can’t happen to anyone!
Think about it like this: Nearly 70% of high-level executives are men. If you were a cyber-thief looking to appeal to CEOs, you might target your language and messages because of that statistic. You might put fake ads on a website for nice suits, or tailor your references accordingly. Meanwhile, because women take over most of the child rearing duties in the average household, someone who wanted to steal from families in a specific neighborhood might develop adware for scam makeup brands or malignant websites purporting to be for kids’ toys.
So why do different genders experience different threats online? Just like in the real world, it’s simply because we have disparate experiences in life! For example, our differences in online behavior, social roles, and economic status. Men are more likely to work in jobs that involve handling sensitive data, which makes them more attractive targets for phishing attacks. Women are more likely to be responsible for household finances, which makes them more vulnerable to social engineering attacks and banking scams.
No matter your gender, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from ALL kinds of cyber-attacks.
- Be careful about what emails you open and what attachments you download.
- Keep your software up to date, including your operating system, antivirus software, and web browser.
- Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication for all of your online accounts.
- Be careful about what information you share online.
- Be aware of the latest cyber threats and scams.
By following these tips, everyone can reduce their risk of becoming a victim of a cyberattack.