Pew Research Center Report: Most Americans Struggle with Privacy and Cybersecurity Knowledge

According to the Pew Research Center’s recent Americans and Digital Knowledge report, most Americans are unable to answer basic questions about privacy and cybersecurity. They surveyed 4,272 U.S. adults with a set of 10 questions on a range of digital topics.

Pew found most answered fewer than half of the questions correctly (2% answered all correctly). They also determined that only

  • 28% can identify an example of two-factor authentication
  • 24% know that private browsing just hides browser history from other users of that computer
  • 29% know WhatsApp and Instagram are both owned by Facebook

Those with higher education levels were also found to be much more likely to answer digital knowledge questions correctly—bachelor’s or advanced degree holders outscoring those with a high school (or less) education (12 – 32%). Additionally, younger adults generally did better than older adults (50+) in answering the questions (less pronounced than education level disparity).