Online privacy tips for seniors

Going online lets you connect with friends and family, keep learning, and play games. Take precautions before using the internet to be secure and safer just like you fasten your seat belt before driving. The first step is to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Think about the consequences of your actions, take safety measures, and connect knowing you have taken steps to safeguard yourself when online. Practicing cyber safety is the prerequisite of protecting your identity and sensitive personal information. “Cybersecurity is about risk reduction,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “It’s difficult to achieve perfect security. But you can work to make yourself a more difficult target.”

Below mentioned are a few tips that can be very useful for seniors:

  • Be Aware of your online presence:

You should know what they post will last forever. You have to be aware that when you message online or post a picture, you are also inadvertently sharing personal details with strangers about yourself and family members for example where you live. The golden rule, post only about others what you would like to have them post about you, applies online as well. There is no harm in limiting who can share and see your information. You should own your online presence. Learn about and use security and privacy settings on your favourite websites.

  • Think before you act:

Communication and emails creating a sense of urgencies such as a problem with your taxes or bank account is likely a scam. Reach out directly to the company by phone to see if the email is not a fraud.

  • Use security software:

Installing and regularly updating security software from a reliable source on your devices is very important. Regularly running the anti-spyware and anti-virus software is a good practice. Be wary of security updates from pop-up ads or emails as they may probably be malware that could infect your computer.

  • Secure your personal information just like your money:

You should always lock your devices, like your phone and tablet just like you lock the front door to your house. Use strong passcodes or passphrases to lock your phone and tablet. Securing your devices helps keep prying eyes out and protect your information in case your devices are lost or stolen. Bad guys can get access to your personal information when you click on links in emails. It’s best to delete an email if it looks suspicious even if you know the person who sent it.

A strong passphrase is a sentence having at least 12 characters. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you usually think about and are easy to remember. Many sites even allow the use of spaces. Try to Have separate passphrases for every account as it helps to thwart cybercriminals. At least, have a separate passcode for your accounts and work, and make sure to use the strongest passphrases for your critical accounts. Many people can forget their passcodes if they use this way so it is advisable to keep a list that’s stored in a secure and safe place away from your computer.

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