Cybersecurity, 50% of young people do not know how to set a secure password

The results of a report on risks and opportunities of the Network presented at Palazzo Madama

Huawei and Parole O_Stili announced the data of the report “SmartBus – The perception of risks and opportunities of the network in Italy”, also shared during an event that took place in the “Caduti di Nassirya” Hall of Palazzo Madama in Rome, and which saw the presence, among others, of the Hon. Paola Frassinetti, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Merit, and Daniela Sbrollini, Senator of the Italian Republic. The report was drawn up on the basis of the experience of the joint project “SmartBus: Cybersafe on Board” which, between February and May of this year, carried around Italy a mobile interactive classroom in which about 4,500 male and female students from 206 lower secondary schools, and about 600 citizens of the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Lazio and Campania, were able to raise their awareness of the threats and opportunities associated with the use of the Internet and applications, discussing with tutors at edge on the main issues relating to privacy and cybersecurity.

SmartBus leveraged an interactive educational approach, based on the use of totally digital tools and game dynamics applied to daily life activities. All participants, using a tablet and a WebApp developed by Parole O_Stili specifically for the project with two distinct paths for target users, were able to test their skills through a quiz and reflect on the results together with the educators. This training approach allowed participants to acquire greater awareness of digital security as well as develop a culture of responsibility in the use of digital tools.

The final report, based on the student questionnaires generated from session to session, together with the individual results of the adult participants, showed that Italians have a medium-high level of knowledge of digital tools, the Internet and network risks, but only 3.1% of the more than 5,000 participants answered all the questions in the questionnaire correctly. In this context, younger citizens appear to be better prepared on all the topics addressed than adults. Considering only adults, the Huawei and Parole O_Stili report shows that in Italy it is women who are more prepared than men with regard to digital and cybersecurity issues, a fact that denies the commonplace according to which in our society men are more “digital” than women; in the same context however, the opposite was found among young people.

Considering the results closely linked to the issues of privacy and cybersecurity, a potentially worrying figure emerges with respect to the security of online content managed by young Italians: in fact, 50% of students are unable to set a secure password or keep an equally secure archive of their passwords using special tools (as many as 47.6% of girls stated that they use a simple note on their smartphone); this is an assumption that must certainly be taken into consideration for the future of the new Italian generations, considering that the same young people who today “limit themselves” to managing simple content on social networks and contact directories on their smartphones will one day be adults who will have to manage passwords for bank current accounts, access credentials to Public Administration sites and sensitive company data in the professional field.

“The picture that emerges from the SmartBus report provides a very useful analysis on the subject of information security and knowledge, highlighting the importance of training. The Italian school is working on both technological innovation and digital transformation with a plan that aims to accompany students in the acquisition of digital skills and increasingly homogeneous and extensive projects, with training that also concerns teachers and which involves parents and families more. We are aiming for widespread digital education”, declared the Honorable Paola Frassinetti, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Education and Merit.

Senator Daniela Sbrollini added: “I thank Huawei and Parole O_Stili for the contribution they have made to citizens and politics with this report in understanding a fundamental phenomenon such as cybersecurity. Cyber ​​security has and will have an ever greater weight in the lives of Italians and in those of the institutions. The results that have emerged are partly encouraging: our young people are familiar with and know the IT tools at their disposal, but are not yet fully aware of the dangers of the web. From this point of view, politics can do a lot to raise awareness among smartphone, tablet and computer users. It is no coincidence that cyber security is one of the interventions envisaged by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan sent by the Government to the European Commission on 30 April 2021 and definitively approved on 13 July 2021. As National Head of the Sports Department for Italia Viva, I am surprised and disappointed by the lack of attention paid to copyright and piracy, which also includes the viewing of sporting events through illegal platforms, a phenomenon against which the Senate has just approved a law. Young people still don’t quite understand that behind the contents, from a simple video game to a book, from a film to a sports show, there is the work and commitment of working people, artists or professional athletes, who deserve to see the fruit of their ingenuity and their talent recognized”.