Do you know more than the bare minimum of your tech devices' functionality?
The answer to that question can make or break the safety of your personal and financial data while you're connected to the Internet. On Thursday, Google released a study comparing the personal cybersecurity habits of technical and nontechnical people.
Google conducted two surveys, one with security experts and the other with regular Web users, and found the similarities between the two groups start and end with an interest in maintaining strong passwords.
According to the study, 35 percent of security experts place installing software updates as their first security protocol. Only 2 percent on non-experts, meanwhile, believed updating software is important.
In an article on NPR's website, one smartphone user, Nolan Darby, says when he sees a prompt that a software update is available, he ignores it. For him, the reminders are annoying, instead of being the heads up that an important security patch is ready. They "just pop up. And it interrupts what I'm actually doing. I don't need all those reminders," he says.
Google's study found that only 24 percent of non-experts use password managers, compared to 73 percent of experts. "Our findings suggested this was due to lack of education about the benefits of password managers and/or a perceived lack of trust in these programs," Google researchers wrote on the company security blog. An expert tells Google: "Password managers change the whole calculus because they make it possible to have both strong and unique passwords."
It also appears security experts generally don't have the same faith in antivirus software that others do. Only 7 percent said it is one of the top three three protocols they use to keep their data safe, compared with 42 percent of non-experts.
"Experts acknowledged the benefits of antivirus software, but expressed concern that it might give users a false sense of security since it's not a bulletproof solution," Google wrote.
To find out more, check out the full study here. Overall, it revealed how little most people know about keeping their data safe.
"Our findings highlight fundamental misunderstandings about basic online security practices," Google's researchers wrote. "Software updates, for example, are the seatbelts of online security; they make you safer, period. And yet, many non-experts not only overlook these as a best practice, but also mistakenly worry that software updates are a security risk."