Cybersecurity for Seniors
Guest Post By: Danielle K. Roberts
Computers and technology have benefited our way of living and are now resources that allow us to do business, shop, connect with friends, and much more. When you are doing important things on your computer like banking or filing taxes, you do not want anyone to steal that secret information, right? According to INC, there are over 2.5 billion user accounts that get hacked a year, and you can potentially be one of those if you do not use the right cybersecurity tactics.
Setting a password on your technological devices should be done as soon as you take it out of the package. If your computer were to get stolen and there is not a password needed to access it, then you just granted access for your personal information to be exposed. Having a strong password is essential for you to protect yourself from identify theft, financial fraud, and hackers.
When choosing a password, you will want to make sure that no one can guess it. It would be best if you did not use you or any family member’s name, favorite color, pets name, or anything that someone can guess as your password. Make sure your password is at least 12 characters long, and you use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. You must remember that it is a hacker’s job to guess your password.
Online scammers target senior citizens because they know that they have a retirement fund, are more generous and are used to telemarketers reaching out to them. Smart scammers do their research and understand what seniors will click on and this is what you must look out for.
If you receive an email from a random address about “bank fraud” and are asked to provide your banking information to prove yourself, then you are experiencing a scam first-hand. You must never give out your banking information through an email or on any unknown website. Remind yourself that if you were truly experiencing bank fraud, you would receive a call from your bank and not by email from an unknown source.
You should never trust a link that you receive from an unknown account because if it is a scam and you click on the link, that scammer can potentially access your computer’s data. When you receive these types of emails, you should mark them as “spam,” so you can ensure that you will not receive an email from that account again.
Hackers do their research on senior citizens and gather as much information about them as they can with the information that you provide online. With that said, you should be careful about the types of material that you share with people online. A lot of senior citizens are on social media, and scam artists will target you with random pop-up quizzes and surveys that will ask you invasive questions about your health and personal life.
If you come across a quiz on Facebook, think to yourself, “Who is the quiz benefiting? Who is going to view my answers?” Scam artists can use this type of information against you, and you can potentially be subject to identity theft.
Having a security software program on your computer can help keep your private information protected. Computer security will help prevent and can detect when unauthorized actions are happening on your desktop. When you have proper security software on your device, it will help prevent viruses and malware from destroying your computer. When you are visiting websites and a bright, shiny pop-up takes over your screen, this is likely a virus trying to make its way to your computer software. It would be best if you steered clear of websites with pop-ups, or it can infect your computer entirely.
The right kind of protection would help determine whether someone is trying to break into your system and warn you if the hacker was successful. The best kind of downloadable security protections for your computer will be one with firewall protection and antivirus software. These two types of protection can help prevent hackers and viruses from gaining access to your system and find out the vulnerabilities inside it.
Most seniors are not aware of the importance behind cybersecurity. When browsing through the web, you must be mindful of the sites that you are entering and need to detect whether you might be experiencing a scammer/hacker. Taking the right cybersecurity actions will make a hacker’s job more difficult, and you can ensure that your information that is stored is protected.
Danielle K. Roberts
Danielle K. Roberts is the Vice President and co-founder at Boomer Benefits, where her team of experts help baby boomers with their Medicare decisions nationwide.