back to article Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards

Millennials are more likely to fall for tech support scams than baby boomers, Microsoft says. The findings are revealed in a recent Microsoft study that saw it poll peeps in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and nine other countries. Redmond's not revealed the number of respondents. Tech support scams take on …

  1. oldtaku
    Big Brother

    'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

    We've mentioned this before, but just because you're super good at using mobile apps doesn't mean you have any faffing idea what's going on. It's the huge fallacy in the Digital Youth Who Will Make Great Things theory. They're consumers, not producers (except of selfies).

    Unlike the Good Old Days (TM) where nothing ever worked without dinking with your autoexec.bat and config.sys (maybe I should change the IRQ on this card, hope there's no conflict?), now things mostly just work. Which means you have no idea how it works and no idea when someone's messing with you. You're just wrapped up in the warm comforting embrace of Facebook - trusssst in me...... ssslip into ssssilent sssslumber, ssssail on a sssilver missst...

    So even my Mum does better than my nephews and nieces when it comes to troubleshooting and knowing when they're being scammed.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      Too busy sexting pictures of themselves to each other I guess. (didn't do that when I were lad)

      1. oldtaku

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        Sure would have liked to, but that'd been £500 in charges and 60x40 pixels isn't that sexy unless you squint real hard.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          60x40 pixels isn't that sexy unless you squint real hard.

          Hah! Luxury! In my days we had to do it with ASCII drawings.

          :)

          1. Oh Matron!

            Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

            A little more resolution back in my day with 8x8 sprites....

          2. Karl H

            ASCII Drawings ?

            (spike milligan delivery , as per the Life of Brian )

            ASCII drawings ? you lucky lucky lucky b*****d ;)

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          ...and 60x40 pixels isn't that sexy unless you squint real hard.

          Well I certainly have no vision defects from activities facilitated by low-fi pr0n from back in the day. No sir. Never inhaled neither.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        As Stephan Merchant said in the Crystal Maze, in the 90's there was no such thing as sex. You had to go round to the girls' house and show her your erection in person.

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        Didn't do that when you were a lad?

        When I were a lad, we used SX-70 pics. Delivery was via sneakernet.

        When my Grandfather were a lad, they used daguerreotypes & snail-mail.

        (Note the lack of a joke icon. The above is actually true. So-called "sexting" is nothing new, except in the minds of the prudes who are upset that healthy hormones are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. I actually feel quite sorry for the prudes; they obviously never had a decent sex-life.)

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          I'm not a prude, but I still don't feel I had (or have) a decent sex life.

          And I had to look up most other references apart from the victorian era ones (bloody hell, who was you grandfather, Methuselah?).

          So called sexting may not be 'new' but is certainly easier and more convenient... meanwhile keeping a relationship going seems to increasing in the difficulty curve.

          'bum' icon 'cause that's how I feel.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: feeling sorry for the prudes

          Don't they have a decent sex life because they are prudes, or are they prudes because they never had a decent sex life?

          I can't work it out, it's too much of a chicken / egg problem...

          Anyway, I must dash now. We're having the Prudes round for dinner and I must hide the Pirelli calendar.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        You never once had a girl ask you to ANSI art her like one of your French girls?

      5. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        "Too busy sexting pictures of themselves to each other I guess. (didn't do that when I were lad)"

        but you wooda if you cuda :)

        I have been making up for lost time :D

    2. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      With age comes wisdom.

      Moreover, we oldies were brought up in the Golden Age of home computing, which was almost entirely about hacking (in both senses), not digital consumerism. We even had real Computer Science classes in school, unlike today's glorified secretarial courses they call "ICT".

      The youff of today are purely IT consumers, with very few exceptions. They may know about, and know how to run, more of today's technologies than the older generation, but they are utterly clueless about how they actually work.

      That's not to say there are no young hackers, in fact a rather prominent one is currently battling extradition (well, 31 seems comparatively young to me), but they're just a drop in a vast ocean of IT sheeple, so it isn't that surprising that they keep getting sheared.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        With age comes wisdom

        I think that's it. The thing about security scams is that they depend upon social engineering. Which is not a new discipline by any measure. People with more social experience tend to be better at recognizing that they are being manipulated.

        1. Oh Homer

          Re: "social engineering ... is not a new discipline"

          Yes, in the pre-internet age it was called a confidence trick.

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: "social engineering ... is not a new discipline"

            "Yes, in the pre-internet age it was called a confidence trick."

            And before that, back in the days of steam and Empire?

            English really has changed quite a bit!

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: "social engineering ... is not a new discipline"

            "Yes, in the pre-internet age it was called a confidence trick."

            What's it called when done "on a mobile device" and is patented yet?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "social engineering ... is not a new discipline"

              What's it called when done "on a mobile device" and is patented yet?

              iOS?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        With age comes wisdom

        You clearly have never spoken to my wife, but I digress :).

        I think the benefit of age is that you have already made those mistakes, or have picked up warnings from others who made mistakes. The problem is that such is only partially transferrable because you need the full context before it locks in.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @OhHomer

        You call yourself an oldie - but you had computer science classes in school?

        Gidoutaheah.

        We had mechanical adding machines and slide rules.

        When I got to college they were debating whether or not to allow use of those new fangled calculators. Gave the wealthy an advantage over the rest.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: @OhHomer

          Sorry etadame

          I must be about that age. Same arguments about allowing these new fangled calculating machines while I was in secondary school and we all had to use slide rules and log tables for hard sums. But we also had computer classes. With cards to send off the be run at the uni computer centre and funny pencils to mark the numbers on them. And we even had a strange little IBM machine some of us used that had to be programmed by typing numbers into memory locations.

        2. Oh Homer
          Windows

          Re: @OhHomer

          Mechanical adding machines?

          You were lucky.

          I had to swim twenty miles uphill through a frozen lake to get to school every day, then spent sixteen hours chiselling my classwork onto stone tablets, and all I had to do my sums with was a banana leaf and a handful of gravel.

          But you try and tell the young people today that...

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

            Yeah, but the same way we are now talking about the youth happened to our generations, the generations before, and will happen to the generations after.

            I was talking to someone who thought it was awful and incomprehensible that if I wanted to phone up a girl I fancied - which was stressful enough on its own, I had to really hope her parents didn't answer.

            In 20 years time, someone youngster will find it incredible that to visit a girl he had to use the common front door, and couldn't simply beam up into her bedroom.

            When I was the youngster, the generation above was shocked how we all had calculators, and "couldn't do maths properly anymore".

            I'm sure a few hundred years ago, a youngster went to get a glass of water, after being to the toilet, only for the elders in the room to decry how he just takes the tap for granted, and has no idea about how the water distribution works, and the network of pumps etc - particularly for sewage removal.

            Wind back to caveman days, young UG is cold, so gets closer to the fire. Elder Ug and Ug moan about how he has no clue how things went on before fire was discovered... :-)

            But yeah, I've fallen into the same trap. I marvel at what is going on when I'm watching a YouTube video coming down the phone-line, transmitted to my TV over Wi-Fi, with sound sent to the speakers remotely via Bluetooth, and my remote control wireless keyboard all buzzing signals around at the same time.

            But I marvel because I know what's going on, those who don't simply don't care. I've tried to describe to my nephews and nieces how when we used walkie-talkies or CB radios, when you were on the same channel, you'd have to make sure you took your turns to broadcast, and how this compares now to the multiple devices all using the same frequency "at the same time", and all I get is a shrug. I wouldn't even attempt to talk about even more intricate detail.

            I've thought it would be interesting to know roughly how mpeg works so that they know what's going on when a picture appears blocky, or corruption causes a sync frame to be missed, and you sometimes get the picture of someone talking "spookingly" appear over the previous picture, mouth first etc. but they care about as much as I cared about logarithmic tables and starting cars with a crank shaft handle.

      4. Karl H

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        I'd say there are percentage wise today probably a similar amount of youths ( anyone under 30 odd for me ) who have a good idea of what is happening in a computer as there were when I was a youth in the 80s. It seems to take a certain mindset to be interested in technical details , and that percentage hasn't changed in a long time.

        Most people are consumers of ANYTHING technical. I don't know many car owners who can do basic maintenance, let alone more major repairs.

        As for being naive, 30 odd years ago I was a lot more naive than I am now . Getting older has some advantages, although I wished I could still run for a bus and not get puffed out....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      So even my Mum does better than my nephews and nieces when it comes to troubleshooting and knowing when they're being scammed.

      My kid has the benefit of growing up with what I do for a living. Thankfully he's gone the sport route in practically living on the sports field (cricket and rugby, depending on season), but he still knows how to hold his own online - that said, I must check again because he is still a child. He's at an age where making mistakes comes with the territory because that's part of how they learn, and as long as they learn from that and we as adults can ensure that doesn't lead them into trouble that should be OK.

      It's the last part that is actually an issue, though. I can't understand how a 13 year old can formally enter into a contract that allows the pervs and data suckers in the US to start using their images for their own good. I still haven't worked that one out, as a parent I should have a say in this.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      There's much in common here with a lot we older types take for granted and understand... for instance cars. How many "kids" know how to drive a stick shift? Or understand anything other than "put gas in here... put key in here.. drive off"?

      There's a lot more of the things we learned the hard way that's handed to them because now "it just works" and is reasonably priced.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

        "There's much in common here with a lot we older types take for granted and understand... for instance cars. How many "kids" know how to drive a stick shift? "

        If they have a driving license, pretty much everybody in the UK. Your almost certain to have a manual car, since your parents and friends drive manuals, your driving instructor almost certainly had a manual (unless you specifically looked for somebody with an automatic) and so you were taught on a manual.

        In the UK automatics are more expensive to buy and generally use about 20% more fuel as a result of the gear selections going for low gears a lot of the time when slowly cruising around on rural roads designed for horse+cart, and paved not otherwise not noticeably improved for cars. When fuel is taxed at something like 100%, and then gets an additional 20% on top in the form of VAT then fuel efficiency is perhaps somewhat more important than it is in the states.

        Drivers of automatics are statistically more likely to have accidents according to the insurers, and so attract higher insurance premiums. (you have to have insurance in the UK, it's not optional) That, and anybody driving an automatic in Europe is likely to get mercilessly mocked by pretty much everybody if they can't drive a "real" car. All this results in something over 80% of new cars sold in the UK last year being manuals.

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          a "real" car

          Upvoted for that!

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          In the UK automatics are more expensive to buy and generally use about 20% more fuel

          The Honda Jazz claims to be more efficient:

          Manual: 55.4 - 56.5 mpg

          CVT: 57.6 - 61.4 mpg

          But in my experience it's not the nuts and bolts that matters so much as the nut behind the wheel. Good acceleration sense and patience can save you more fuel than is lost through choice of transmission.

          1. Alumoi
            Coat

            Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

            Yeah, like someone would believe the manufacturer's figures.

            Oh, wait, they would never lie to us, right?

          2. Gordon Pryra

            Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

            VW claimed all sorts for their Diesals, how much do you trust figures from car companies?

        3. Chez

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          It's terribly sad to see how rare manuals are here in the states, but on the other hand, the low demand drives down the price. I was taught on automatic, my first car (an ancient Buick) was an automatic, but I got a standard once that died. I can't imagine going back, now.

        4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

          - "How many "kids" know how to drive a stick shift?"

          - "If they have a driving license, pretty much everybody in the UK."

          It's a leftpondian thing. Nearly every car sold during the last 60-odd years having an automatic transmission, I mean.

          That aside: spot on!

          If you had to make it work, you learned how it works in the process, at least to some extent.

          If it just works, you don't.

          Both have their pros and cons - but all things considered I'm someone who likes to know.

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      oldtaku

      See icon

    6. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: 'Digital Natives' are totally oblivious to how it works

      Moby summed it up best here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VASywEuqFd8

  2. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Joke

    Scams?

    Isn't using Windows, falling for the biggest scam ever?

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: Scams?

      No. But the belief that it is "falling for the biggest scam ever" is.

      1. I am the liquor
        Trollface

        Re: Scams?

        "No. But the belief that it is "falling for the biggest scam ever" is."

        You believe that falsely claiming Windows to be the biggest scam ever, is the biggest scam ever? Dude you just fell for the biggest scam ever.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Scams?

          Having said that, isn't in now sad where we live in a society where if something is this defective, instead of complaining to the manufacturer, we instead automatically expect to pay for virus protection?

          I can't think of any other product we'd do that for - even out of warranty, you'd be able to argue 'fault has been there from the beginning' :-)

          1. torgo

            Re: Scams?

            "Having said that, isn't in now sad where we live in a society where if something is this defective, instead of complaining to the manufacturer, we instead automatically expect to pay for virus protection?"

            So you're saying that any OS that is vulnerable to viruses is defective?

            Seem you would have to add MacOS X (macOS) and all the various flavors of Linux to the mix as well as iOS and Android.

            Which shows that you haven't really thought through your statement, have you?

            Expecting perfection from incredibly non-trivial (but nonetheless useful) systems is completely pointless. How would one even know that a product is vulnerable in the first place unless millions of units are in the wild and eventually attacked by the bad guys?

            Of course, you can wait for the perfect system and opt out of the current rash of "defective" software...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Scams?

              "Seem you would have to add MacOS X (macOS) and all the various flavors of Linux to the mix as well as iOS and Android."

              Can you buy iOS or is it "free"? Linux is free, and you get what you pay for in terms of warranty, but Windows is most definitely something you buy, even if it is pre-installed on most new computers because it's clearly available as a consumer purchase and most suppliers, if you dig into their detailed pricing, will show the price of a computer with and without Windows.

              On the whole, I agree. Software seems to have a free ride in terms of consumer law.

              1. toughluck

                Re: Scams?

                @John Brown (no body). I don't get it. Is preinstalled iOS any different from preinstalled Windows? And if the price of a computer with Windows installed is the same or lower than without Windows, does it mean it's free or value add?

                If Linux comes preinstalled on a PC and this option costs, say, $10, does it now count as a sold product or as a service?

                Just because an OS can be compromised, it doesn't mean it's unfit for purpose. It can execute code, how is it supposed to tell that it was not your intention to run a particular piece of malware?

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                  Re: Scams?

                  Just because an OS can be compromised, it doesn't mean it's unfit for purpose. It can execute code, how is it supposed to tell that it was not your intention to run a particular piece of malware?

                  You know full well that we aren't talking about a piece of code the user 'knowingly' runs as part of a confidence trick.

              2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Scams?

                On the whole, I agree. Software seems to have a free ride in terms of consumer law.

                Well said

            2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: Scams?

              So you're saying that any OS that is vulnerable to viruses is defective?

              Yes

              Seem you would have to add MacOS X (macOS) and all the various flavors of Linux to the mix as well as iOS and Android.

              If they are susceptible to virii, yes.

              Which shows that you haven't really thought through your statement, have you?

              No - it shows that you have low expectations, or don't actually know what a virus is.

              Expecting perfection from incredibly non-trivial (but nonetheless useful) systems is completely pointless. How would one even know that a product is vulnerable in the first place unless millions of units are in the wild and eventually attacked by the bad guys?

              Strawman. I never said "perfection".

              Also, note that whilst I have negative rants on malware and exploits, that's not the subject we're discussing.

              And with that attitude to software, please don't get a job writing software for flight navigation, traffic lights, power stations, cars, space craft, missile defence systems etc. etc. etc.

              It sounds like *you* haven't thought this through - a symptom of the Microsoft generation.

              Of course, you can wait for the perfect system and opt out of the current rash of "defective" software...

              Thanks for your concern, but I'm there already.

              1. John PM Chappell

                Re: Scams?

                Nonsense. Also, your pretentious attempt to seem more clever than you are falls flat with 'virii' - the plural is viruses, in English. In Latin, it'd be 4th Declension, and remains virus, but with different vowel values, in my opinion; the best alternative is vira, pluralizing in a way that is standard for neuter nouns. There is no true Latin plural, however, because in Classical Latin it wasn't a concept that could pluralize. At no time has 'virii' been correct, and it's generally seen used by poseurs who have discovered that some Latinate words pluralized by ending in -i but have no actual knowledge on the topic.

  3. Filippo

    Call for the techpriest

    Oh, no, I've offended the machine-spirit!

    You know the quote about sufficiently advanced technology? Well, we're nearly there.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    This senior citizen (old man) ....

    .... doesn't trust anybody when it comes to my computer, mobile phone or house phone. All of them have been abused as scam vectors in the past. Also, I've been reading El Reg for so long that I've turned into a misanthrope with a bunker mentality.

    (Posted from the middle of the woods with a stolen mobile phone via a Tor network.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This senior citizen (old man) ....

      You too are Curmudgeon.

      Welcome to the club.

      We are legion.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: This senior citizen (old man) ....

        We are also more commonly know as

        Grumpy Old Men

        Well, most of us are men but women and trans people are welcome to join.

        The important bit is the 'Grumpy'.

        how do you qualify as a member?

        Test 1.

        Any random telephone surveys get a response of F*** O** or worse.

        That's it, you are a member.

        Further tests are available to get to the Rick Wakeman level of grumpiness.

        See Icon

        1. moiety

          Re: This senior citizen (old man) ....

          I've joined a club? Fuck that, how do I unsubscribe?

        2. WolfFan Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: This senior citizen (old man) ....

          Any random telephone surveys get a response of F*** O** or worse.

          That's no fun. Hanging up on them, or just insulting them, merely encourages them. No, what you have to do is use 'creative' answers to their questions. The longer you can keep them on the phone, and the more creative you can get, the more likely it is that you'll be placed on the "For Christ's sake never all that number again" list. I got a call from Donny Trump's pollsters a while back. My answers were so creative that they've never called back. However, shortly afterwards I did notice a plain white van parked on the block for about a week... I'm waiting for Hill's pollsters to call, I have some really creative answers just waiting.

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: This senior citizen (old man) ....

      "Also, I've been reading El Reg for so long that I've turned into a misanthrope with a bunker mentality."

      I was already one, but these days I'm wondering if my bunker should be in a bunker.

  5. Frank Zuiderduin

    Wisdom comes with the years?

    LOL! Seriously, when you've been around a bit longer, you either become a complete idiot or stop being gullible...

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Wisdom comes with the years?

      Dunno about wisdom, I'd often say caution though, there's things you do in your early years risk wise when you're older you tend to have second thoughts about.

  6. RichardB

    Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

    "Only 17 per cent of those taking the bait were over 55 years old, but 34 percent of folks aged between 36 and 54 fell for scams."

    Is this not a trifle bizarre way of putting the stats..?

    I wonder how the young folk these days tend to respond to other scams where the mark is targeted from an unexpected vector of 'authority' - whether the security man in the flash jacket, or the brown shirt part time volunteer pc and their clipboard, or the hiring manager with a 0 hour contract. Do older people behave the same way with these other threats?

    1. arctic_haze Silver badge

      Re: Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

      Yes, the sentence is very confused. Is the 17% the fraction of all people tested while 34% is the fraction of people from one age group? I do not think so. So something is certainly wrong.

      1. Sil

        Re: Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

        I read it like this:

        Of the people that fall for the tricks:

        50 % are millenials

        34 % are 35-54

        17 % are 55+

        Total: 101 %

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

          i read it slightly differently ....

          ------------------------------------------

          half of respondents between the age of 18 and 34 years old had followed tech support scammer instructions, handing over remote access to their machines or downloading software after encountering a scam page.

          Only 17 per cent of those taking the bait were over 55 years old, but 34 percent of folks aged between 36 and 54 fell for scams.

          ---------------------------------------------

          two different sets there - theres a difference between "1/2 of the 18 to 34s had been scammed" and "17% were over 55" which is different to "17% of those scammed were over 55s"

          That could be all the over 55s got scammed for all we know.

          so yes - they're pretty good at butchering the stats - using them , as they say, like a drunk uses a lamppost

          "More for support than illumination"

        2. Captain DaFt

          Re: Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

          "Of the people that fall for the tricks:

          50 % are millenials

          34 % are 35-54

          17 % are 55+

          Total: 101 %"

          Easily explained.

          If there's a sucker born every minute, obviously the survey ended with with a higher headcount than it started with. ☺

    2. DanDanDan

      Re: Wonder if they are any better at butchering stats?

      Not to mention the discussion about how the study was done (people who have been scammed may be more likely to take part in the survey), the percentage of people of different age groups who regularly use the internet/dodgy websites on the internet (if millennials spend more time on the internet or torrenting, they're much more likely to be scammed). Altogether if the variables that were controlled for are not spelt out, the underlying data is less than useless. Not to mention the clickbait title.

      "The proliferation of tech support scams on torrent sites could suggest millennials are more likely to encounter the ruses, though this is not mentioned in the report." - This report is attention grabbing nonsense to make the older generation feel good about themselves.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Due entirely

    to the liberal bleeding heart media, portraying everything and everyone as "happy happy joy joy" and "the state will cover your back" and "we are ALL equal" and, of course, "we must apportion blame to SOMEBODY".

    Tune into sanity FM folks.

    Hopefully, some of them will take off the rose tinted giggs and realise the world is NOT a nice place and unless these fucking human snowflakes toughen up a bit, things are only going to get worse for them.

    THIS, little children, is what happens when you trust hypermegaglobalcorp.LTD with your personal data. They throw it around like confetti making these scamms all the easier to pull off.

    1. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      Re: Due entirely

      "Liberal" and "state" is an oxymoron, surely, unless you're using the strange American definition of "liberal".

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    Each generation reinvents the wheel

    Each generation often thinks they invented the wheel, fire and sex.

    You can now add computers and phones to that list.

  9. imanidiot Silver badge

    Overconfidence of youth

    Is it maybe just the overconfidence of youth and general naivity that is causing this. I've met many of my fellow "millenials" (millenials don't exist btw) that are just naive and have no idea how the real world works. They've lived in this little bubble of greatness their parents created for them, protected from all the evil of the world and now just refuse to believe people can be nasty, vile and manipulative when it suits them. Even those they have met before and are usually nice.

  10. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Even scientists are gullible

    Two of my colleagues have fallen for scam scientific journals passing for respectable ones of similar or even identical names.

    One of them working now in a different institution have published two papers (each for something like $3000) in a scam journal and never noticed something was wrong. He was so proud of the papers I had no heart to tell him the truth during our brief meeting. Especially as my history of contacts with the person was not on the "friend" level.

    I learned about another one yesterday. A colleague from my institution showed me her paper in a journal I knew had been hijacked and ask me why this paper is not visible in the Web of Science database one year after being published. I double checked (there was a small spelling difference in the journal name, the ISBN was identical but it was not the same journal) and send her an email explaining what happened. She has not replied yet and I'm feeling bad about letting her know. But someone should.

    It is a shame such fake journals exist for years even if they are based in some rather shady corners of the world. But I'm still surprised that a scientist can be duped by (I guess) a simple email with a link to the false webpage.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Even scientists are gullible

      Maybe some of it is down to (recentish) citation mania, keeping publication count up becomes very important to tenure for those not at the top of the tree.

      Plus in "competitive" areas of research where multiple different teams looking at same / v. similar areas there's a huge emphasis on being first with discovery / results to get the kudos.

      .. and being a world leading expert in transport of liposomes across a cell membrane (or whatever research branch someone is in) does not necessarily make someone IT literate / scam aware (as attention to detail may well be applied only to their field of study).

      1. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Re: Even scientists are gullible

        The joke is the papers in hijacked journals do not show in Web of Science so they do not count. At least in the institution I work in.

        BTW I already know what happened in the case of my friend. She let a graduate student (the first author) choose the journal and he found the wrong one. So, after all, the title of this piece is right. The kids are easy to scam.

  11. jake Silver badge

    Yes, the younger "adult" set seems to have become over sheltered as a whole.

    The latest trend I'm seeing is parents (about 45ish) showing up for their newly graduated from Uni sprog's job interview. I kid you not; I've seen this about a dozen times in the last year. Most of those were with child in tow, but three were just a parental unit, no actual applicant. When I point out the obvious, I am met with blank stares. It's like they think this is normal. Quite surreal.

    1. Jan 0

      Re: Yes, the younger "adult" set seems to have become over sheltered as a whole.

      > It's like they think this is normal.

      What do they think is normal? Parents attending a job interview without the interviewee, or that parents should be there at all?

      Are you telling us about advertised jobs where you have invited candidates, speculative interviews at job fairs, or something else?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Yes, the younger "adult" set seems to have become over sheltered as a whole.

        Everything is decaying, it's as if practically all the basics are being forgotten - actually actively destroyed by the establishment, the faster, the better.

        This is why Trump has a chance.

        I would buy a Sadfrog T-Shirt, but I would probably be beaten up grievously in such multicultural neighborhood zones as black inner cities or guardians of liberalism (in the old-school sense) as universities....

    2. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Yes, the younger "adult" set seems to have become over sheltered as a whole.

      My 2 have been made aware that I won't do anything for them further than making sure they get there and their CV looks good and is accurate. Everything else is down to them. Only thing I'll do with my daughter is the Uni open days, but only because there's nothing else to do when there. She's already made it clear she has a good understanding of what she wants to do, and what she wants from a Uni so she doesn't need any advice from me on that score.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      The latest trend I'm seeing...

      Bloody. Hell.

      This must be a joke. Please tell me you've just scammed me.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: The latest trend I'm seeing...

        Working a temp job covering benefits. I have had

        Twenty something year old request a workman out to change a light bulb, to dangerous to do it herself, health and safety issue.

        A girl again same sort of age, requesting a exterminator out at 3am because ant's were coming into her house and she was worried they would go upstairs and eat her baby, followed by her parents phoning me and going apeshit over the fact I said no.

        A guy phone up say his daughter of 17 was pregnant didn't know who the father was and he was buying her a house so how much could he charge for rent so she could claim benefits.

        So yeah there are some that are really molly coddled, (to be fair met plenty who are the same in far better off situations at Uni, everything done for them never had to learn to stand on their own two feet).

        It's not all though, I can't think of any of my younger relatives in my family who if they came up with any of that would not be getting mocked for being useless, or a severe talking to in the case of the last one.

        In fact one of my little cousins fresh out of college is trying to choose between Tanzania and India for where she wants to do some of her nursing course, neither place is going to be an easy ride.

    4. Tim99 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Yes, the younger "adult" set seems to have become over sheltered as a whole.

      A friend believes that "adolescence" is the ages between 9 and 29.

  12. Milton Silver badge

    Turn on the kitchen light ...

    "... half of respondents between the age of 18 and 34 years old had followed tech support scammer instructions, handing over remote access to their machines."

    "... Security boffin Ivan Kwiatkowski was more ambitious. In August he permitted a tech support scammer to access his virtual machine and tricked the operator into opening a file that infected their machine with the Locky ransomware. ®"

    As someone who frequently drones on about the world's average IQ, especially in the west, falling off a cliff in the last 30 years, the first quote is still horrifying. Yeah, I already knew the youngsters were dumb enough to watch "reality" TV; even that they were imbecile enough to pay a fortune for a tee-shirt with some hideous brand logo (so that they could pay to advertise someone else's product—surely the absolute nadir of gormlessness?) but it's still depressing to see that half of all people fall for these tricks.

    The second quote gives me hope, though. The malware scum are no better than people who vandalise call boxes and piss in elevators, and I live in hope that we will develop more and better weapons to use against them. I see the damage these vermin do and would like nothing better than to know that their own bank accounts are being pillaged, their own computers turned to smoking ruins—or if not, at least that we find ways to waste as much of their worthless lives as possible.

    Dear Reg: how about looking further into honey traps, tar pits and the like? I do have some awareness of the difficulty of tracking down these rodents, hiding as they do behind proxies, VPNs, botnets and so on, but I suspect that some applied deviousness by white hats might yield results.

    Show the law-abiding world how to turn on the kitchen light and see the roaches scuttle: my guess is you'd get plenty of support.

    1. Sooty
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Turn on the kitchen light ...

      The thought that I always fall back on is this

      Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realise that means half the people you meet are even stupider than that.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Turn on the kitchen light ...

      " how about looking further into honey traps, tar pits and the like? "

      Well theres legel ramifications - the security researchers that track botnets and such know where the machines are . Sometimes they even gain control of the bot net - but instructing it to clean itself up is just too risky apparently because you are then tampering with someone else computer.

      ...and what if its doing life sving work in an operating theatre etc?

      hang on what am i rambling about - scamming a scammer must be fine! id be ok with it anyway - but theyd probly win in court - like those burgalars who hurt themselves an sue the homeowner.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Turn on the kitchen light ...

        I'd say the issue is not "scamming the scammer" it's the fact that if you order the botnet to self destruct it inevitably involves making changes to the victim's computers, which could bring you into conflict with law enforcement (interfering with another person's computer, tampering with evidence etc)

        1. shovelDriver

          Re: Turn on the kitchen light ...

          Hold on . . . isn't Self-Defense lawful? Even the great bastion of moral imperatives - unsullied by any least hint of scandal - the U.N., is on record as saying that it is a Basic Human Right. So any action to stop attacks - remember, in today's world, your smart phone, tablet, computer (all the same thing) is your life - should be perfectly acceptable.

          What? Worried about unintended consequences such as shutting down the national power grid? Perhaps if such occurrences were more frequent, those making money off the scams would think differently.

          And if "researchers" know where the botnet machines are, and by implication who the scammers are, can anyone doubt that our various "Spy on Citizen" agencies don't also know? So why do they let it continue? Perhaps we should follow the money trails. Maybe there's a reason why law enforcement prosecutes those who defend themselves . . .

  13. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Biggest security incidents I have with my family are from family members under 30 and those over 55.

    Both groups need to be locked in a room, away from the phone and interweb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Both groups need to be locked in a room, away from the phone and interweb."

      Well, I'm in the over 55 group.

      Tell me more about this room: Like the absence of phone and interweb - nice library and meals maybe?

  14. Gordon Pryra

    Attempting to get Elite working on a 386 because I could not afford a 486 forced me to understand how to affect changes to the hardware using the OS.

    But the difference with the old systems we had and the current crop of OSes (Moden Windows, Android, iOS etc) is that nothing was locked away, I had visability of what was going on.

    Kids today have no chance. The computer is now almost a black box system

    Imagine trying to change the name of Android using a hex editor like we used to with old Dos 5+

    Instead of the relevent Dos flavor of the time (Toshiba, IBM or Microsoft etc) I had "Gordy Dos".

    Do that now and you will just brick your device

    Memorys of Mem /C and /M spring to mind, heady days....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ha, ha!

      Reminds me of the day I wrote a BASIC loop to poke random stuff into 8-bit memory going from 0x0000 to 0xFFFF. Evidently the whole machine crashed when end-of-ROM was reached at around 0x8000 and then my Mom sent me to bed. I could not ascertain whether I had damaged the machine for good, my Dad (nominally working "in computers" for some EC outfit) couldn't tell me one way or the other, and I was shitting bricks the whole day because I would really have gotten it after having destroyed "the expensive electrical device". Successful boot-up come the evening however empirically demonstrated that ROM cannot be overwritten...

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    It bears repeating

    Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you (Mon 29 July 2013)

    TL;DR? Why not just go watch another five second video of a kitten with its head in a toilet roll, or a 140 character description of a meal your friend just stuffed in their mouth. "nom nom". This blog post is not for you.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: It bears repeating

      Excellent article.

    2. Sam Therapy

      Re: It bears repeating

      Good read. Thanks for the link.

  16. IHateWearingATie
    Windows

    Gonna get pwned one day

    I've always thought the maxim 'they only have to be lucky once' applies here for most of us. No matter how switched on someone is, we all have an off day and given the number of these scams that get sent its inevitable that when tired / hungover/ angry / drunk (or all at the same time) we'll miss the obvious signs and click on something we shouldn't do.

    Although I've turned fully PHB now, I did useful technical stuff earlier in my career and along with trying to keep up with things so sneaky developers don't pull the wool over my eyes I should in theory know enough to always avoid these things. But I'll definitely make a mistake one day - hopefully whatever security software I have at that point will save my stupid arse from too much damage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gonna get pwned one day

      "I've always thought the maxim 'they only have to be lucky once' applies here for most of us."

      You're talking about the sperm/fertilization scenario, I take it.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Gonna get pwned one day

      ...hopefully whatever security software I have at that point will save my stupid arse from too much damage....

      I've been pwned twice in 20 years. Once on my PC and once on my phone.

      PC had good A/V but had not been updated. Fortunately, I keep more than one A/V and recovery utility. Was able to restore after several hours without wiping and re-installing.

      Phone had no A/V but everything was backed up. Wiped and reinstalled back ups in one hour. While sitting at a bar.

      So yes, good A/V and backups will save you and help you recover very quickly.

    3. Kernel Silver badge

      Re: Gonna get pwned one day

      I got caught once, a number of years ago, by an email nasty.

      Since then I've never configured an email account to automatically open the next email.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    It's a mentality change IMO

    Slowly but steadily things are shifting and the more technology people get to use the dumber they get, at least that's my impression of it. And you see this happening everywhere, not just with tech and scamming. Take the game market! I remember the times when certain gaming companies were getting very critical comments from game magazines when they did something as releasing a technically un-finished game. The classic: "Sorry, it might not work on your PC right now but it'll soon will after the next patch!". These days most people seem to easily accept this behavior because "that's just the way it is", which is utter nonsense of course. But it gets even more ridiculous when players who do see this behavior speak up about it (and in a mature and normal way). Because then your fanboy army often gets out... In some cases I'd say people allow themselves to be fooled and scammed because they don't (want to?) bother to think things over.

    It even goes as far as turning things completely upside down and placing the responsibility for mishaps with everyone except the actual people who did it.

    Here in Holland there's a huge concern about "tracking": companies which pick up wifi signals from passing phones, store them and then use the data they get to track people. Caused a bit of an uproar because they were obviously tramping on people's privacy. They were the bad guys for using all that data. But, like... If you value privacy so much then why on earth do you allow your phone to try and use other people's wifi networks?

    It's a complete mentality change IMO. People stop to think, they're not interested at all how stuff works anymore and then you get idiotic scenarios like these.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: It's a mentality change IMO

      "... and the more technology people get to use the dumber they get ..."

      To some extent perhaps, but there is also the effect that, as technology matures i.e. becomes relieable and easy to use, more people get to use it. Which includes a growing number of people who are, well, stupid.

      Example: cars. 100 years ago someone who drove cars for a living was a highly trained specialist in a brand new technology.

  18. Cuddles Silver badge

    Misleading percentages

    It's important to note that the figures given don't actually say anything about which age group is more likely to fall for scams. What it says is that of the people who fell for a scam 50% were 18-34, 34% were 36-54 and 17% were over 55. And yes, those are the age ranges given which probably says something about the quality of the study (for those not paying attention, people aged 35 or 55 are apparently excluded). That doesn't say that 18-34 year olds are more likely to fall for a scam; without knowing the size of each group no such conclusion is possible. If more young people are using computers, they could actually be less likely to fall for scams while still making up the largest proportion of those who do get scammed.

    For example, take a group consisting of 98 young people and 2 old people. All are exposed to a scam, 10 young people fall for it and 1 old person falls for it. That would mean young people have a 10% chance of falling for a scam while old people have a 50% chance of falling for it. But presenting it in the same way as this article would mean saying that young people make up 91% of people who fall for scams. That makes young people sound much worse, even though they were actually much less likely to fall for the scam.

    So no, kids today are not so stupid they fall for scams more than greybeards. Kids today use computers much more than greybeards and so inevitably represent a larger proportion of those who fall for scams. Whether they are actually more likely to do so is simply not possible to tell from the research shown.

    1. AS1

      Re: Misleading percentages

      There were 12,000 participants from 12 countries according to Microsoft's news page. Not sure why El Reg has decided that Microsoft did not publish the figure.

      https://news.microsoft.com/en-gb/2016/10/17/scams/

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Misleading percentages

      Those gaps in ranges are remarkably common. In al sorts of fields. (But statisticians ought to know better)

      When my kids were little that used to drive us mad. Clothes would come for, say, ages 2-3 and 4-5 etc. but no age 3-4. So if the child is between 3 and 4 years old they don't get new clothes? Kids grow a lot in a single year.

      1. Tim Hines

        Re: Misleading percentages

        Surely that's 2-3 (or 4-5) inclusive so no gaps.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Misleading percentages

          Ages 2-3 and 4-5 aren't - can't be - inclusive for kids' clothes. It's age 2 up to age 3 .Even if the retailers want it to be for 2 and 3 inclusive. And even allowing for variation ( which parents allow for anyway).

          Since kids grow a lot in a year a two year age range in the first 4 years of life is nonsense.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misleading percentages

      What the article actually says is:

      1 in 5 consumers surveyed continued with a potentially fraudulent interaction after first being contacted, meaning they downloaded software, visited a scam website, gave the fraudsters remote access to their device or provided credit card information or other form of payment.

      Nearly 1 in 10 have lost money to a tech support scam.

      Of those who continued with a fraudulent interaction, 17 percent of them were older than 55, while 34 percent were between the ages of 36 and 54.

      Surprisingly, 50 percent of those who continued were millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.

      Consumers in India (54%), China (35%) and the United States (33%) had a greater likelihood of continuing with the fraudulent interaction.

      In India and the United States, 1 in 5 reported losing money to these scams.

      So, this really tells us nothing about Milenials in the USA, for example.

      It doesn't say that 50% of millenials fell for the scam, but that of the people who did fall for it, they comprise 50%

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    36 To 54

    Even I wouldn't call them kids.

    Whippersnappers maybe - but not kids.

  20. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Selection Bias

    Already forgotten the article, was the sample actually random, or just consisting of people stupid enough to respond to an online survey?

    Congratulations to our 10 Billionth Visitor !!

    Click here to receive your FREE A380 Airbus!!

    Anytime I see a banner ad saying "your machine has a virus !!1!!",

    it makes me consider how to re-implement crucifixion. I know its too good for them, but at least with their arms nailed up they wont be writing more ads.

    As for the Malwaristas, a relatively quick drowning head down in a septic tank should be sufficient.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is time

    For the prophesied second coming of BONZI BUDDY.

  22. Sam Therapy
    Happy

    Simple reason

    Most people are thick. Really, really thick. There are more young(er) people online, using smartphones etc than old(er) people. The older ones who use these things tend to have some interest in what they are using because generally speaking, that's how olduns were brought up. They tend to be at the smarter end of the spectrum, whereas, at the younger end, everyone uses the kit.

    So, there's an imbalance in smarts to tech ratio, which is why it's happening. Simples.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5

    I watched a normally intelligent and responsible engineer install some PC software, he clicked through the license and other dialogues so quickly I thought he was sending a morse 5, I asked why he did that without reading the text or considering anything and he said "you have to click those to install the software". Strangely he ended up with some option he didn't require then had to remove.

    What hit me was the motivation, they just want to install and use something, they don't want to read the bloody license or do anything other than accept defaults, got stuff to do.

    I feel old, suddenly very old.

  24. Rtbcomp

    Younger people never take advice and us older folk remember Thatcher so we've learnt not to trust anybody

  25. Howard Winter
    Happy

    Number crunching

    "Only 17 per cent of those taking the bait were over 55 years old, but 34 percent of folks aged between 36 and 54 fell for scams."

    93.45% of statistics are made up...

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