Technological innovation is exhilarating, to be sure, but also alarming. On one hand, for example, the world is filled with devices and machines that do the things written about in science fiction. Suddenly, we can learn about anything with a few mouse clicks, we can have anything in the world delivered to our front doors, and we can even print 3-D copies of whatever we might imagine. These days, tech has given individuals more knowledge and power than ever before.
Yet, for those who didn’t grow up with such astounding technology, that knowledge and power can tend to be foreign and frightening. As hard as many seniors try to adapt to changing tech, many fail to fully understand the consequences of their cyber-actions. As a result, many seniors succumb to cyberattack and theft, losing money and personal information to cybercriminals. They also have to deal with the stress fallout that comes with it.
Whether you don’t want your age to make you vulnerable online, or you want to protect an aging loved one from attack, read on for some of the best security strategies for seniors.
Trust Tech Support
One of the first things for seniors to know is that they don’t have to do things alone. Take a look online and you’ll find plenty of great tech support options that you can choose from, where you pay an affordable fee to get access to on-demand assistance, whenever you or your elderly loved one need it.
This type of support can cover a wide variety of things. For example, seniors can get help with removing viruses and malware from their computer, if they’re ever targeted by a hacker or otherwise being digitally attacked; and they can ensure that their computer or other device is running at peak performance. Tech support experts can also target the reason behind computers that have slowed down to a snail’s pace, and revitalize old units with a PC tune-up.
Handily, trusted security advisors can find potential holes in the security of a senior’s home network, so that hackers are kept at bay; and set up a Wi-Fi network so that it’s properly configured with all of their gadgets, including laptops, printers, scanners, smartphones, and routers.
Organize some tech support and seniors can also ensure that their email account is set up correctly on all devices, plus back up contacts, emails, calendars, and other information to the cloud or a specific storage device. Troubleshooting is available too, so they can have questions answered about issues they’re having with emails or other computer-related topics, or have other problems resolved.
Make Memorable Passwords
Another one of the biggest lessons that seniors need to learn when it comes to technology is how to put secure passwords in place. Believe it or not, millions of people across the world still use simple codes like “password”, “admin” or “123456”, which hackers can guess in a matter of seconds.
As well, lots of people use passwords that are not secure because they are based on personal information that can be found publicly (or easily by hackers), such as the names of family members or pets, birth dates, wedding anniversaries, home towns, maiden names or parent names, and the like.
To stay safe, seniors are advised to use comprehensive passwords that are between eight and 12 characters long. The codes should be made up of a mixture of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower-case letters, and also changed on a regular basis (every two to three months is best). It is also wise to use different passwords across different devices and logins, so that if one gets compromised, not everything is at risk.
To make life easier, it pays to use passwords that are memorable to them so that they don’t forget them, but really difficult for anyone else to guess. One trick is to come up with a sentence that means something to them, and then use the first letter from each word to make up the password, adding some numbers and one or more symbols (such as a dollar sign or exclamation point) to it.
Use Caution on Social Media
Lastly, it is important for seniors to be very careful when using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Due to the popularity of these networking platforms, hackers particularly like to target them, so they are a hotbed for scams and other security issues.
When using social media sites, be stingy with the amount of personal information getting posted. As noted above, mentioning details specific to seniors and their life can give cybercriminals clues to passwords, and make it easy to determine details such as their email address and login information.
They must also be careful about the links they click on when on social media sites, as these can often contain viruses or take them to convincing but fake versions of real sites, where seniors proceed to input their login information. If they do, hackers have their personal data and can quickly and easily go about stealing information or breaking into their systems.
Always make sure that seniors directly type in the website address of any site where they must login, rather than clicking on a link, so that they know they’re going to the real page. As well, be wary of sensational headlines on advertisements, as these are often used to bait people into clicking on hackers’ links.