Tech savvy millennials: How many tech terms do they know?

While Generation Z have been hailed masters in all things ‘technical’, can the same be said about millennials? With many of us working from home, many millennials they are now relying on electronic devices more than ever, but how tech-savvy are they, and how many tech terms do they know?

Specops Software sought to find out by surveying 2,445 millennials who are regular computer users. We put their knowledge of tech terms and essential computer tasks to the test, and the results are interesting to say the least.

Which tech terms do millennials not know?
Our study highlights that many millennials are unaware of mainstream terms. We can reveal that a whopping 82% don’t know what a firewall is – the least-known term of the study. This is followed by malware, of which 76% of millennials can’t name.

VPN, HTML and spam are more tech terms that millennials failed to identify, with 73%, 71% and 70% respectively failing to identify what they mean.

The tech term that baffles millennials the least is virus. Its notoriety and widespread discussion makes it known by 88% of millennials – only 12% don’t know what it is.

Further terms that millennials struggled to understand include:

Cookies – 65% know; 35% don’t know
Bandwidth – 49% know; 51% don’t know
LAN – 36% know; 64% don’t know
Phishing – 33% know; 67% don’t know
How cyber-safe are millennials?
Specops Software knows how important it is to be vigilant when using technology, especially when working from home and handling sensitive data, as cyber-attacks are more common for organisations with remote workers. So, to delve deeper, we also sought to investigate how cyber-safe millennials are.

When asked if they had ever been hacked, a concerning 67% said yes (29% no; 4% unsure). Of those that have been hacked, only a third (39%) said they knew what to do and how to deal with it. A further 61% admitted that they wouldn’t know if they should run an antivirus scan, change their passwords, or throw away their laptop altogether! And perhaps more shocking, of those that have been hacked, 73% said they haven’t or wouldn’t change their behaviour to prevent it from re-occurring (27% would).

Which everyday computer tasks do millennials struggle with?
Millennials were also asked which everyday tech and computer tasks they can competently carry out without any help.

The majority (81%) said they can open and run task managers, which is closely followed by run an antivirus scan (77%) and search in incognito mode (71%). However, surprisingly, only 66% know how to delete search history from their computer (66%) and just over half (57%) can successfully troubleshoot problems with their device. Furthermore, a staggering 92% have no idea how to use a VPN, which is when a user connects to an organisation’s network, often allowing employees to access resources safely.

Enabling a firewall is just as confusing to millennials, with 89% failing to understand how to complete this task. This is followed by factory resetting a laptop (85%); a task reserved for a last resort attempt at saving a laptop in bad shape.

The tech terms that baffle millennials the most
Specops Software also wanted to discover the number of millennials Googling definitions for various tech terms every month, using the online marketing tool,*.

Our research found that the term VPN appears to baffle us the most. Not only is it the third least-known term for millennials, it also tops the table for number of millennials asking Google what it means each month**, with a whopping 38,080 searches.

VPN is followed by phishing with 15,730 searches, malware (11,960), router (11,830) and software (9,990), to name a few.

Term Average monthly Google searches
VPN 38,080
Phishing 15,730
Malware 11,960
Router 11,830
Software 9,990
Hacking 9,980
Cookies 9,790
Virus 9,320
Bandwidth 8,210
Spam 6,990
ISP 5,580
Trojan 4,210
Spyware 3,780
Ethernet 3,510
Ransomware 3,240
Blacklist 2,410
LAN 2,230
404 2,150
Firewall 1,830
Freeware 340
Clickjacking 30
Despite the sharp increase in media attention over the past few years regarding privacy, cookies are still unknown to many, as almost 10,000 ask Google what it is each month!

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