Americans Digital Knowledge Varies Greatly

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, a majority of Americans cannot identify an example of two-factor authentication and fewer than half of Americans can correctly answer the questions posed on Pew’s digital knowledge quiz.

The survey found that 28 percent of Americans could correctly identify an example of two-factor authentication. In other cybersecurity-related areas, only 24 percent of those surveyed knew that private browsing only hides browser history from other users of that same computer and 49 percent are unsure of what private browsing does.

On the bright side, 67 percent of those surveyed correctly answered that phishing scams can occur on social media, websites, emails or text messages.

Age factored into the results heavily, Pew said, along with educational attainment.

“Adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree and those under the age of 50 tend to score high on these questions,” Pew said in a blog post. “Adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree answered a median of six questions correctly, compared with four correct answers by those who have attended college, but have not obtained a degree and three by those with a high school diploma or less.”

The survey consisted of 10 questions with only one in five adults answering 70 percent or more of the questions correctly and two percent answering all the questions correctly.

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