Seniors, in general, are trusting souls and don’t understand the dangers online. There are so many cyber thieves online searching and lurking, waiting for their next trusting victim to make a mistake. Each day at least 1 million cyber-attacks are executed, and the number is growing. It’s our job to keep our seniors informed and protected from all dangers, including the internet.
Here are 10 tips on how to explain to seniors they are vulnerable to cyber thieves.
- Seniors generally think they don’t have any information the cyber thieves are interested in and don’t pay that much attention to the much-needed extra security precautions.
To change their mind, sit down with them and ask them these questions.
- Do they have any work documents on your computer?
- What about contracts attached to past emails?
- Is there any information they wouldn’t want to be public?
- Do they have any credit cards pins saved in text drafts on their desktop?
- How about any online shopping carts that stored credit card details?
All this information can be easily hacked if not protected.
- Seniors usually use passwords that criminals can guess or crack easily
They use their kids’ names, birth dates or pets’ names. Cyber criminals love passwords like this, all they have to do is glance over social account profiles to find out possible password combinations or answers security questions. Seniors generally use the same password for everything, so once a cyber-criminal hacks their password they can have access to all their accounts.
You need to explain to them how important passwords are and help them install a password management tool that will protect passwords from the online criminals.
A good password needs to be at least 14 characters long, random letters and numbers, use non-dictionary words, mix uppercase with lowercase, and punctuation.
- Seniors usually don’t have passwords set up to access their computers or cell phones.
If passwords are not setup on the front end of any device, their information is left wide open to anyone passing by that picks up their phone, laptop or tablet. Or worse yet, if someone steals their device(s) every bit of information is accessible to the thief.
- Seniors can easily fall for scams.
They fall for contests and lotteries that say they’ve won without giving a second thought they might not be from a legitimate source. Seniors happily click on links, download attachments and give away their personal information to anyone that offers them a chance to win some prize.
Explain to them to second guess any email they receive before opening it, replying or clicking on any link or attachment. Explain to them not to click on any links from their bank or any other organization. They should log in directly to the website and get the information directly.
- They don’t know how to set up their privacy settings on social networks.
Privacy settings are imperative to set up correctly on social networks. Show them how to set up their privacy settings and explain if they leave their privacy settings to public, anyone can see everything that is posted on their account, leaving them wide open to cyber thieves.
- They share too much information on Social Media.
Seniors love to post photos of their family, their homes, photos from their vacations, etc. They aren’t aware that the internet can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. It is full of terrorists along with groups where pedophiles are sharing photos trying to locate children that are easy targets.
- Seniors usually believe everything they read online.
Explain to them there are several “fake news” sites, and they can’t believe everything they read online.
- They probably never heard of or don’t understand two-factor authentication.
Seniors need to understand how imperative it is to have two-factor authentication for every account.
Here is a good way to explain to them how it works. Basically, it requires not one but two pieces of privileged information before granting access to an online account. For Example, if they set up two-factor authentication for an account, and a hacker tries to break into that account he would need your email address, password and the code set up for the two-factor authentication. It makes it much harder for them to figure out all the elements needed to log in to your account. Some accounts set up with two-factor authentication will send a unique security code directly to your cell phone via text messaging and needs to be entered in the login area of the site before access is granted.
- Seniors don’t understand they need more than just an Anti-virus software to protect their devices.
Anti-virus software alone isn’t enough to keep technology devices safe from all the dangers lurking on the web. They also need a good Malware software and internet security software to protect their information.
- They don’t understand how easy malware and cyber-attacks can infect their computers.
Seniors don’t understand how sophisticated and frequent cyber-attacks happen. They don’t realize how easy it is to get malware. All it takes is clicking on an infected banner on a legit website, and they can get infected.
Let them know that even legit websites can be compromised. They don’t need to click or download anything for their PC to get infected with malware or Trojans. Malicious codes injected in ads will search for vulnerabilities in their system and exploit them.
Keeping ourselves and our Seniors safe online should always be a number one priority.