Privacy Tips for Seniors
Cybersecurity has begun to fill news headlines more and more over the last five years. As the internet grows, so does the desire for hackers to reach your private data. Departments, including the government, have been breached on all levels. Large name-brand stores, credit card monitoring companies, and big banks have all had a fair share of strikes occur against them.
However, there are a small percentage of Americans who have no online presence at all. In fact, over 10% of Americans do not use the internet at all according to a United States based research company. And, the majority of that group, are NOT over the age of 65. Over two-thirds are under the age of 60. This means we need to help protect our senior loved ones from a cyber attack. Let’s dive in a little further on some tips we can use to help manage our risk.
1. Learn the Basics of a Computer First
Many times seniors are receiving the latest tech equipment from their children or grandchildren. While this may be a nice gesture, most of the time they are left alone after the initial setup. Considering reading a guide on the steps to take before trying to get connected to the internet. Abby Stokes writes a great book outlining the simple steps to take to help minimize your exposure.
2. Always be Careful Where You Search
Before you click on any link, hover over the text and see if you recognize the URL address. To do this, hold your mouse over the link without clicking on it. Then, in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, the website URL address will appear. Many times hijackers will use anchor text (just like I did right here) in order to try to confuse people into clicking their link. These links can be found in emails and websites that are not secure.
In addition, Google released an article stating the necessity for all website host providers to switch over to SSL encryption. What does this mean? When you are on any website, the address bar will show either a lock or a NOT SECURE logo before URL. Look at the picture below showing the difference between the two. Make sure you only visit websites that are secure and have an SSL lock like the picture on the left.
3. Be smart about your passwords
This one is crucial. Nowadays, every site we log into requires a password. While this is great for security purposes, it can become troublesome to remember all of your passwords. What ends up happening is, we use the same ones that are easy to remember over and over again. Not only is this an issue because of the ability to access all of your platforms once hacked, but you end up using a password that is familiar to you making it easier for the hackers to identify.
According to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, you should be changing your password at least every 90 days. This will help prevent unwanted visitors and protect your private data. If you have trouble remembering your passwords, Last Pass is a password managing tool that is great to use. I will leave a link just below for you to check out.
And remember, if you are unsure about an email or link, do not open it!