Digital Knowledge

The internet is a prominent influence in today’s society as it encompasses connectivity. However, a recent Pew Research Center investigates how much people know about digital devices.

When exploring specific examples, for instance, posing the question ‘can you identify a sample of two-factor authentication’, 55% could not identify correctly. Whereas 28% of participants could correctly recognize the authentication process. Two-factor authentication is when the user is allowed access into a website or account after successfully providing multiple (two or more) pieces of confirmation. This evidence especially looks for possessions, inherence, and knowledge. Overall, this adds extra security when logging into accounts.

Next, when asked about phishing scams and where they can occur, 67% were correct by stating that scams can occur of social media, websites, and through messaging. Though 18% were incorrect and 15% were unsure. The most common type of scam is deceptive phishing which is an email or private message from a recognized sender (contact from your phone), ultimately copying and stealing information by limiting a legitimate provider or contact. The key identifiers for a deceptive scam are grammar and spelling mistakes embedded with the message.

Additionally, when discussing privacy policies, 48% were aware that policies are contracts between websites and their users about how those sites will use their data. Where 25% were incorrect and 27% were uncertain.

In comparison, individuals are aware of the technological purpose of ‘cookies’ which allows websites to track user visits and preferences. The file (cookie) is designed to hold data specific to a particular website and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. Further, 63% correctly knew what cookies were and 9% were incorrect.

The Pew Research Center also reported that individuals are aware that the largest source of revenue for social media platforms is advertising. The breakdown is 59% of participants aware of this trend, and 9% were incorrect. In 2019, social media will own 13% of global ad spend. The entity, ad spend, is the amount of money spent on advertising. Ad spending is the third largest advertising channel.

In conclusion, there is a trend of what topics individuals are educated on, particularly individuals are knowledgeable in areas regarding social media, however, they are unaware of security precautions that can be taken. Some safety tips include identifying the security technology ‘https’ when online shopping this is an extension of the hypertext transfer protocol. The protocol is encrypted using the transport layer of security. Another tip is to change passwords frequently.

Article by: Alexis Takagi

Works Cited:

Vogels, E. A., & Anderson, M. (2019, October 11). Americans and Digital Knowledge. Retrieved from​.


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