Security

Here's what US adults actually know about cybersecurity

While cybersecurity attacks are becoming regular occurrences, many Americans have little knowledge of the industry.

Even though cyberattacks are common place now, more than 20% of US adults have never heard of popular cybersecurity jobs, according to a recent survey from the University of Phoenix. The survey, released on Monday, studied US adults' perceptions of the cybersecurity industry in three different areas: Career familiarity, gender disparity, and workplace readiness.

The survey found that only one in 10 respondents were familiar with cybersecurity job titles, while 20% had never heard of them, according to the press release. US adults were most unfamiliar with penetration testers (52%), white hat ethical hackers, and computer security incident responders (46%). This unawareness and lack of knowledge on cybersecurity leaves Americans even more vulnerable to attack.

SEE: Cybersecurity strategy research: Common tactics, issues with implementation, and effectiveness (Tech Pro Research)

With 5,207 total breaches and 7.89 billion records compromised in 2017, according to Risk Based Security's Data Breach QuickView Report, cybersecurity experts are needed now more than ever. But, only 20% of respondents said they had considered a career in cybersecurity, said the release.

"Respondents said that they do not possess the proper skills, despite many actually saying that they, in fact, have many of the skills taught in the University's cybersecurity-focused programs, such as programming (33 percent), data analytics (26 percent) and coding and web development (both 31 percent)," Dennis Bonilla, executive dean for the College of Information Systems and Technology, School of Business and College of Criminal Justice at University of Phoenix, stated in the press release.

The study also looked at gender disparity in the industry, confirming that women are still vastly underrepresented. Only 14% of the industry is occupied by women, said the release, and 89% of female respondents said they had never thought about a career in cybersecurity. With the aforementioned lack of cybersecurity professionals, acquiring gender balance is all the more necessary to improving national cybersecurity efforts.

US adults' lack of cybersecurity knowledge infiltrates workplace readiness, which is the last area studied in the report. Only a third of employees are confident that their company can prevent cyberattacks, mainly because of the lack of knowledge and expertise in the staff, said the release.

The lack of cybersecurity awareness and education with US adults can have detrimental effects to companies and individuals. Click here to learn how to protect your business.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • More than 20% of US adults have never heard of major cybersecurity job titles, which displays the lack of cybersecurity knowledge in America's workforce — University of Phoenix, 2018.
  • This lack of knowledge, paired with the gender disparity in IT, continues putting companies at risk of a cyberattack — University of Phoenix, 2018.

Also see

security-edit.jpg
Image: iStockphoto/fizkes

About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox