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Shielding Seniors from Cybercrime – Best Practices for Online Security

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Let’s face it, not all older people are clueless when it comes to technology. Many of them can navigate the online world like pros. However, it is no secret that older adults are often the victims of cyberattacks. Businesses can find a cyber security company, but how do we keep the older people in our lives safe from these threats?

Why are older people targeted?

Older people tend to be targeted more, as they are seen as less tech-savvy and may not be aware of the latest threats and vulnerabilities. They can also be more trusting, and are more likely to fall for phishing scams, which can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other forms of online fraud.

How can we help them?

Fortunately, there are plenty of things that we can do to help keep the older people in our lives safe online. The following tips will help to protect them, and should be implemented by everyone using the internet.

Make them aware of the risks

The first step in safeguarding older people from cybercrime is to make them aware of the risks. Many may not be aware of some of the potential dangers of using the internet, such as malware, phishing scams, and identity theft. It is important to take the time to explain these risks and encourage them to ask questions if they don’t understand.

One of the most prevalent scams targeting older people is phishing, which involves sending fake emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as the bank, in an attempt to trick the receiver into divulging personal information. Another common scam is the tech support scam where scammers pretend to be technical support representatives and convince victims to provide remote access to their computers or to purchase fake software. Make sure your loved one only seeks technical support from trusted sources and to never allow remote access to their computer unless they initiate the call.

Use strong passwords

Creating strong passwords is one of the most basic but effective ways to safeguard against cybercrime. Older people should be encouraged to use long, complex passwords that include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. They should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as this can make them more vulnerable to hacking. As well as strong passwords, encourage the use of two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a verification code sent to their phone or email before they can log in.

Make sure their devices are regularly updated

Keeping software on computers, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets up to date is vital to staying safe online. Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Seniors should be encouraged to regularly update their operating systems, web browsers, and other software programs.

As well as that, they should be reminded to install antivirus software and to carry out regular virus scans. Antivirus software can help detect and remove malware, which can compromise personal information and lead to other forms of cybercrime.

Keep personal information safe

Protecting personal information is crucial for online security. Older people should be reminded to only provide personal information to trusted sources and to never share personal information over the phone or online, unless they are absolutely sure of the authenticity of the request.

As well as that, they should be checking their credit reports and bank statements regularly for any unauthorised or suspicious activity. This can help detect and prevent identity theft.

Be wary of public Wi-Fi

Seniors should also be made aware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi networks, as they can be easily hacked by cybercriminals. If they must use public Wi-Fi, they should connect through a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts their online activity and keeps their personal information safe.

Support from caregivers and family

Finally, caregivers and family members can play a big part in helping older people to stay safe online. This can involve monitoring their loved ones activities online, installing security software on their devices, and providing ongoing education and support.

Seniors are among the most vulnerable people when it comes to cybercrime. However, with the right tools and resources, they can protect themselves and enjoy the benefits of the internet without the fear of becoming a victim. By practising good online security habits, using technological tools and resources, and receiving support from caregivers and family members, they can stay safe online and avoid falling prey to cyber criminals.

Image by Freepik

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