Most of today’s aging adults did not grow up in the technological world we now reside in. While technology has made many activities much easier than they have ever been, it has brought with it some challenges, such as security risks. There are industrious people who work diligently to use the information available online to take advantage of others. Aging adults are especially at risk of various online scams. To protect yourself and your loved ones, utilize the following cyber security tips:
1. Use strong passwords
Nearly every website now requires passwords for access to information. Often, they will have instructions and even requirements for making strong passwords. A strong password is one that will be more difficult for someone to guess or discern. Certainly, you should avoid using the word ‘password’ or a string of numbers. It is also advisable to avoid using your name or birthday, or the names and birth dates of close relatives. Use an unusual word along with a combination of numbers and symbols.
You should not only password protect your access to websites, but you should also password protect access to your various documents and devices. Individual documents can and should be password protect if they have financial information. Computers, laptops, and smartphones can all give people quick access to your sensitive information, if you leave them without password protection. Once you establish passwords and pass codes to your devices, do not to give that information to anyone else.
2. Use safe settings
Some people access sensitive information through viruses and malware. Be sure to install anti-virus software on your computer or laptop, along with other software to protect yourself against attacks. Firewall protection and browser safety settings can also be used to further protect your devices and information. If you are not familiar with the appropriate types of anti-virus software and browser settings, most stores that sell computers can help you to set up your devices.
3. Use critical thinking
Oftentimes, people access sensitive information not by hacking into the system, but by tricking people into outright giving them the information. They might send an email with a bad attachment that you should not open. Or they might send an email demanding certain information be provided to avoid negative consequences. In these cases, they might play on your emotions so that you quickly act on their directions. They might build excitement or fear to get you acting before thinking.
When working online, it is important to slow down and think critically. When you receive an email from an unknown person, analyze it carefully before opening any attachments. Check with friends to ensure they sent an email before opening an attachment. Also know that the government does not usually email important information or make demands via email. If you are uncertain about the source of an email and its veracity, you can call the entity they claim to be, to verify that the email is from them.
The world we live in today is connected by technology. The advent of this technology has allowed people unprecedented access to others’ information. This can be used for great activities like connecting with friends and easily accessing all sorts of interesting information. However, as you use technology for work and play, be careful to guard yourself against hacking and cyber-attacks. By using the above cyber security tips, you can protect yourself and make your experiences online much more enjoyable.
If you are concerned that a loved one will fall prey to cyber security threats, be sure to help them get set up with the right parameters in their online platforms. Share the above strategies with them, so they can easily spot scams and take the right steps to avoid negative consequences.