Cybersecurity for the elderly: what to consider?

Like children, older people are easy targets for unscrupulous people on the web. How to protect them? Discover some tips.

Last update: August 19, 2022

When children surf the Internet without supervision, they can be victims of cyberbullying Y grooming, also known as “pedophile deception”. And although this is one of the populations that receives the most attention, when it comes to cybersecurity, older people are also in a state of vulnerability.

This is because there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of their inexperience in the digital world to scam them or steal their identity. So, if you are elderly or if you know an older adult who is in danger, these are some of the considerations that you should put into practice.

Cybersecurity tips for seniors

As stated in an article published in The National Council on Aging (NCOA), there are many online scams targeting seniors; therefore, it is advisable to implement cybersecurity measures when browsing the web. Which? Let’s see.

1. Create strong passwords

Most create passwords based on the date of birth, the name of the couple and even the favorite band or superhero. And yes, this is easy to remember, but you will become easy prey for those who want to get your money and information.

To avoid this you can review or teach the older adult how password managers work. In general terms, this is a program that stores the usernames and passwords of each platform and service in which the person has an account.

However, instead of learning a bunch of different keys, you just have to remember one that will be the “master key” and with which you can access all the others. Pretty useful, right?

One of the most relevant cybersecurity measures is strong passwords. It is better to avoid the use of data that may be obvious.

2. Do not leave passwords in visible places

Nothing to place the key on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge with a magnet, or on a note on the phone or computer. The caregivers may not be good people or if you lose, are robbed or hack any of these devices, they will have access to all.

Thus, if you want to write down the password, keep the paper in a safe or in a place that only you and your trusted people have access to. Also, ask your grandchild (or child) to teach you how to encrypt the document. Of course, you can learn it yourself; just be aware that this may generate a new password to protect the others.

3. Do not click on links or download suspicious documents

In an email, a message through a social network or a messaging application, it is common to receive links that promise you villas and castles if you do click or if you download a document. This is one of the techniques phishing more common and older adults are among the first victims.

In this sense, the elderly should be careful not to make click in this kind of thing. To identify that it is a possible scam or identity theft, consider the following:

  • If the recipient’s name is misspelled. For example, the name of the banking institution.
  • If the mail is urgent, They ask you for money or inform you of an irregular situation with your bank account.

4. Not going to important websites right off the bat

With banks it happens a lot that they create a page that is not the “official” one. So when you try to log in, what happens is that they are made with your information and soon with your money. This is a nightmare not only for the elderly; therefore, some cybersecurity tips include the following:

  • Check that the URL of the page does not have any spelling errors.
  • Verify that it is https and not http. However, keep in mind that this and the “secure connection” lock cannot be fully trusted.
  • Check that the website has the “privacy statement” and a contact page.

5. Have a good antivirus

Without an antivirus, your devices are at risk of being attacked by unscrupulous people. Because of this, installing an antivirus becomes essential.

These programs have come a long way and now, in addition to protecting your devices from malware, offer other features such as password managers and tools anti-phishing.

6. Keep programs up to date

A program with an older version can be a loophole that makes it easier for scammers to access information. Therefore, you should always try to have the latest version of all programs.

And since this can be forgotten, it is possible to configure updates to be carried out automatically. Ask for help from one of your relatives or learn how to do it on your own.

It’s also wise to verify that a program is trustworthy before installing it, as just like suspicious links and documents, they can do a lot of damage to your devices and personal data.

7. Always log out

An open session on an unknown device is one of the most common ways to lose important information. Make sure you always close the sessions of the pages of the banks, stores on-lineamong others.

Of course this is not just limited to when you are on the go, the same applies to the devices you have at home.

It is important to verify the security of the pages. In addition, you have to log out of the accounts after finishing their use.

What else should seniors consider when it comes to cybersecurity?

In addition to the above, there are other measures that can help older people with cybersecurity problems. First, You must be very careful when accepting friend requests on social networks. Also, it is wise to keep a private profile and not provide personal information to anyone.

Another mistake that could put your data at risk is making a bank transaction while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. This also includes purchases and even just logging in.

Public Wi-Fi networks are a tool that many identity fraudsters use to get hold of your data.

Finally, remember that if there is something you do not know how to do or cannot understand, you can always ask for help, either from a family member or a person you trust. Cybersecurity must be taken seriously, otherwise you could end up with considerable losses.

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