Digital Security — A Question of Perspective. A Large-Scale Telephone Survey with Four At-Risk User Groups


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This paper investigates the digital security experiences of four at-risk user groups in Germany, including older adults (70+), teenagers (14-17), people with migration background, and people with low formal education. Using computer-assisted telephone interviews, we sampled 250 participants per group, representative of region, gender, and partly age distributions. We examine their device usage, concerns, prior negative incidents, perceptions of potential attackers, and information sources. Our study provides the first quantitative and nationally representative insights into the digital security experiences of these four at-risk groups in Germany. Our findings demonstrate that participants with migration background used the most devices, sought more security information, and reported more experiences with cybercrime incidents compared to the other groups. Older adults used the least devices and were least affected by cybercrimes. All groups relied on friends and family and online news as their primary sources of security information, with little concern about their social circles being potential attackers. Our study contributes to the existing literature by highlighting the nuanced differences between the four at-risk groups and comparing them to the broader German population when possible. We conclude by presenting recommendations for education, policy, and future research aimed at addressing the digital security needs of these at-risk user groups.


Usable Security and Privacy
Understanding and Transforming Security and Privacy Behaviors
Empirical Studies on the Perception of Security and Privacy
Societal and Cultural Perspectives of Security and Privacy