Although older people have not been born in the era of new communication technologies, more and more senior citizens are interested in getting to know the digital world. The new generations of grandparents, despite not being digital natives, try to break the stereotype and connect with people from the online world. Because many are new to this world of information, senior online security is more important than ever.
Applications like WhatsApp or social network accounts allow them to remain informed about what is happening in the world and stay connected with their family and friends. Also, the other benefits of being connected are avoiding loneliness, contacting former friends or improving leisure time.
Banks are having fewer branches and less tellers and we are all being encouraged to transact on line. Public transport is now operated cashless, the tellers have gone and we are required to use machines or the computer at home. All this requires training and this is where Computer Coach Australia can help you to learn at your own pace, place and time. Check out our services here and keep reading.
The social networks that seniors most commonly use are:
- Facebook – a network that allows them to be connected with family and friends;
- Skype – which allows them to make video calls and conferences and talk with family or friends who are far away;
- Youtube – which allows them to watch videos and is already part of the leisure time of many older people;
Benefits of being connected
Using the internet provides various benefits for older people, aside from being mentally active and open-minded:
- It improves the quality of life, especially when the activity is practiced in a group;
- It helps them stay active and healthy. Learning new technologies stimulates the mental activity of the elderly.
- Promotes autonomy by strengthening independence.
- Maintains and expands the network of contacts. Email and instant messaging speed up communication with other people.
The digital divide in the elderly
Although new technologies have many advantages for the elderly, many seniors face difficulties with such innovations. Some of them being ignorant about the full extent of the possibilities and dangers that this new technology offers. Many modern devices are relatively complicated to use and can be pretty expensive. This puts an additional barrier between seniors and technology.
Also, companies direct most of the marketing for technological products towards younger people, which also further alienates seniors. All these things cause a digital divide that we should attempt to bridge as soon as possible.
Maintain Senior Online Security
On your smartphone or mobile phone:
- Protect access to phone features with a screen lock code or other tools. When you turn it on, if you haven’t set up any protection mechanisms, anyone could use it or access your personal data;
- Install antivirus software that protects you from malicious programs;
- Be careful with the links you receive through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. For example, a link that is unknown and that isn’t accompanied by an explanation of the person who sent it could connect you with paid services or a virus. So always question people who send you random links before clicking on them.
On the computer:
- Use accredited computer security technology and keep your system updated. Always install a firewall and intrusion detection software;
- Use the latest web browsers and install security updates. If you use Microsoft Windows, activate the “Auto-update” function in the settings;
- Feel free to ask your children or any trusted relatives to help you with these tasks if needed;
- Take steps to make your browser more secure. Here is an example of added security settings for Google Chrome, and you can find similar resources for almost all browsers;
- If you don’t want the browser to remember your data for certain websites, use the incognito tab.
- Be wary of unexpected or suspicious-looking emails;
- Don’t open any attachments or click on the links that appear in these emails from unknown people. Also, keep in mind that you can receive an email from a familiar person that has been automatically sent and may not really be from them;
- Be careful with emails that request personal information, access data or passwords of an account. Those that offer a payment or a prize for no reason (for example, without having participated in anything), or ask for money to be sent;
- Your bank will never ask for personal or access information either by email or by any other means. There are emails that perfectly mimic legitimate bank e-mails and even contain links that lead to web pages that seem identical to that of the bank in question.
On social networks:
- Maintain privacy. Facebook, for example, allows you to configure who to share your publications with so that not everyone can see them. We recommend sharing them only with people you have accepted as friends on the network;
- Report the problems. Inform the website of any unwanted contacts or inappropriate content. Most social networks have a mechanism for just that. Also, notify your family members of any suspicious or uncomfortable situations on the network;
- Don’t provide personal information (phone, physical address, bank account number … to strangers you meet on the network).
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. One of the usual frauds related to the elderly on Facebook is that of people who ask for friendship and, once they trust them, ask for money because they have a serious personal problem.
When downloading and installing programs through the network:
- Pay extra attention to websites that require software installation. Always read the license agreements and cancel the installation process if it seems suspicious or if it tries to install additional software;
- If you are downloading files from either a phone or a computer, consider using a VPN service that will conceal your IP address for added safety.
Take Extra Care Around Automated Services
There are many automated online services that people use on a daily basis, such as those that help them run a business. However, this involves a certain risk that people don’t have much control over. Some great services like MailChimp that can automate newsletter distribution can become targets of various scams, leaving you as a victim. This is another area where senior online security is of the essence, as they are often the target of these threats. Here is a worrying example of an attempt of online extortion as a part of a recent MailChimp scam that should give you an idea of what kind of dangers lurk online:
I am a hacker who has access to your operating system.
I also have full access to your account.
I’ve been watching you for a few months now.
The fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.
If you are not familiar with this, I will explain.
Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.
I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence.
Why your antivirus did not detect malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.
I made a video showing how you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks.
I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.
If you want to prevent this,
transfer the amount of $500 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: “Buy Bitcoin”).
My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is:
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 50 hours (more than 2 days) to pay.
I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.
Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.
If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.
Phone: 0407 956 071