Most Americans Don’t Know What 2FA is, Pew Research Shows

Most
U.S. adults have inadequate general knowledge about cybersecurity, privacy, and
a host of other aspects of their digital life.

A person’s digital knowledge is much more relevant than people think, and proof of that is the latest “Americans and Digital Knowledge” study from the Pew Research Center. Most Americans are unable to correctly identify the answer to a few essential questions about their online security and right to privacy.

Pew
Research Center addressed posed 10 questions to 4,272 adults living in the
United States, with multiple choice answers available. Six questions directly
impacted users’ privacy and online security but, with a few exceptions, people
were in the dark.

The
biggest issue revealed by the survey was that only 28% of respondents were able
to identify an example of two-factor authentication from images. 2FA, or
two-factor authentication, is a security measure that secures online accounts
with a second type of login credentials, usually in the form of an SMS or
email. Even if an attacker steals a victim’s username and password for a
particular online service, he can’t take over the account because he doesn’t
have access to the user’s phone or email.

The
inability to correctly identify a 2FA solution likely means that people are not
using one. This is crucial, because it’s the best way to secure
Google
 or
iCloud accounts in a way that makes them impervious to most attacks.

As
for private browsing, 24% don’t know that using incognito mode in the Internet
browser only means that users on the same computer don’t have access to each
other’s data. ISPs and other third-party entities continue to have access.

Only
30% of people knew the meaning of https:// and recognized that data entered
into a website using it means it’s encrypted. On the other hand, 45% of
respondents knew about the concept of net neutrality.

The
good news is that 67% correctly identified phishing scams and how they can be
attempted via social networks, websites, emails or text messages. The correct
answers are correlated as well with the level of education, and adults with a
bachelor’s or advanced degree answered an average of six questions correctly.

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