In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay safe online, particularly for people on the older side of the population. While young people are typically more inclined to keep up with what’s going on in the world of technology, it can be a challenge to do so for an older individual due to increasingly dramatic innovations. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help them stay safe and informed.
1. Make Sure to Use a Strong Password
One of the most important ways one can stay safe while navigating the cyber world is to be vigilant about their passwords. Help your parents uphold this by letting them know to create 10-12 character passwords, complete with special characters, at least one capitalized letter, and numbers. They should also be warned to limit the reuse of their passwords, as that further compromises their safety in the event of a data breach. It’s also important to help them make sure their Wi-Fi is adequately secured, and not open for just anyone to use.
2. Stay Informed About Issues in the Cyber Sphere
Even if your parent isn’t keeping up with themselves, you can help them keep up awareness of cyber news by sending them articles or communicating these issues verbally. There are a number of sites that make it easy to stay informed about technological innovation and issues, so you could send them a link directly, or relay them the information that you read from these sites.
3. Install Anti-Virus Software on Their Devices
Your loved one can be guarded even without your watchful eye through the use of anti-virus software. These come with various features depending on which one you choose: from alerting the user and blocking a connection when entering a malicious site, to detecting potentially virus-ridden software on a system and quarantining it. Using this kind of software is one of the easiest ways to protect oneself from cyber threats.
4. Educate Them on Phishing and Other Types of Social Engineering
The unfortunate truth is that oftentimes, older individuals are more susceptible to being scammed through social engineering. To prevent this, educate your parent on what to look out for to spot these threats. Examples include misspellings within an email domain name, a service provider asking for a password directly over text, or being asked to part with a significant amount of money to evade a security issue or virus. Warn them not to click on any suspicious links that they get sent via text or email, or to use any sort of banking or app of similar importance on a public network.
It can be a challenge to stay safe online, particularly when having to protect a loved one as well as yourself, but it’s important to be proactive when it comes to cybersecurity. Fortunately, through strategies such as using secure passwords and being aware of social engineering strategies, it’s possible to stave off these threats. With proper awareness and precaution, you can protect them and yourself. Implementing multi-factor authentication and regularly updating security software are also pivotal in safeguarding personal information and digital assets from evolving cyber threats.