AnchorFree College Survey Finds a Majority of U.K. and U.S. Students Are Concerned with Threats to Their Online Privacy

Four of five students surveyed are concerned with threats to their online privacy, including from school officials, yet only one in four regularly use security software to protect their browsing

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--According to a survey released today by online privacy and security pioneer AnchorFree, most college students are very concerned about issues of Internet privacy and security but few take action to protect themselves from online threats. AnchorFree, makers of Hotspot Shield VPN, polled more than 1,200 students from a total of 523 U.S. and U.K. colleges and universities on their attitudes toward online privacy and security.

Among the findings were that 82 percent of the students surveyed said they are concerned with someone violating their online privacy. 47 percent of those students are concerned with keeping their data private only from strangers; eight percent only from friends and 27 percent are concerned with keeping their data private from both friends and strangers. The results run counter to common wisdom that Millennials weaned on social media and sharing every aspect of their lives are unconcerned with online privacy.

Among students’ fears was that school officials might be watching what they are doing online. Nearly four out of five said they were concerned that university officials were monitoring their online activities. More than a third of students reported that their schools block access to certain types of sites, including popular video, social media and torrent sites.

Students also reported concerns that photos, videos and messages posted today might haunt them in the future. 68 percent reported they were “very” or “extremely” concerned that online activities might hurt job prospects or their relationship with a future employer.

When it comes to online security, the survey indicated awareness of cyber threats but an unwillingness to take preventive action: 62 percent of survey participants admitted to using unsecure public Wi-Fi at least once per month, yet only 25 percent of those surveyed always protected themselves online with a product such as virtual private network (VPN) software.

“College students all over the world tend to be among the most mobile and digitally connected,” said David Gorodyansky, CEO of AnchorFree. “On top of that they are more frequently targets of online hackers and identity thieves because of their limited credit and employment histories. It is critical that they take control of their personal information online.”

Among the other key findings:

  • Only 41 percent of students surveyed use a password locker to protect their passwords and other sensitive data.
  • 85 percent of students use anti-virus software to protect their computers, yet only 35 percent protect their mobile devices with anti-virus software.
  • 14 percent of participants said they had been victims of identity theft in the past. The average cost and time spent on resolving each case of identity theft was about $300 and 33 hours, they reported.

The students were polled while visiting a college promotion on the Hotspot Shield web site. See methodology below. Complete survey results can be found on the Hotspot Shield blog. (

AnchorFree’s award-winning Hotspot Shield personal VPN, the most trusted VPN service with 150 million downloads, is used by students throughout the world to secure their online information. The VPN solution protects users from dangerous online threats that can occur while using unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

In addition to secure and private browsing, Hotspot Shield helps college students save money on their mobile data plans through proprietary data compression. Since launch, Hotspot Shield products have saved mobile users more than 120 million megabytes of data, protected users from more than 30 billion potential malware threats and encrypted more than 50 billion page views.

Infographic with survey results available upon request. Contact listed media contact for more information.

About AnchorFree

AnchorFree believes in placing consumers in control of their personal information online. The company's mission is to enable secure access to the world's information for an addressable market of five billion people who access the Web through computers or mobile devices. AnchorFree does this through Hotspot Shield, the world's most popular app for safe browsing. Hotspot Shield secures all Internet communications, protects the user's identity online, and provides universal access to all Internet content. Hotspot Shield is available for PC, Mac, Apple iOS, and Android platforms at AnchorFree is a privately held, venture-backed company based in Mountain View, California.

Editor’s Note on Survey Methodology

The survey, which was opt-in, was conducted on the subdomain as part of the scholarship giveaway promotion that ran May-June 2013. In order to participate in the survey, students had to have a .edu address (or In most cases these were not existing AnchorFree customers. Students were driven to the promotion through a variety of means: banners on college sites, including college newspapers; articles about promotion on college sites and newspapers; through friend referrals; promotions on college student deal sites; promotions on Facebook.

For further validation, please outreach to the press contact for a list of the 500+ colleges which the students listed as attending.


Bite for AnchorFree
Molly McGaughan, 212-857-9386
Reem Ateyeh, 415-365-0395

Release Summary

According to a survey released today by AnchorFree, 4 of 5 college students are concerned with threats to their online privacy but only 1 in 4 use security software to protect their browsing.


Bite for AnchorFree
Molly McGaughan, 212-857-9386
Reem Ateyeh, 415-365-0395