Old but Gold - top 5 online security tips for grandparents with a taste for technology
Technology has begun branching out and resonating with older generations in recent years, so much so that seeing an elderly chap surfing with the help of virtual reality could become a social norm.
As is the case with technological breakthroughs, online security threats increase in number and hackers do their best to keep up. Moreover, many older people see technology as invincible, mainly because they are unaware of cyber crime and the implications it can have.
Older generations are one of the most vulnerable demographics as far cyber crime is concerned, so if you're looking to invest in the latest smartphone or have concerns about a loved one who plans to join the digital craze, here are some top tips to stay safe online.
Always Keep Your Computer Up-to-Date
It is important to make sure that your computer is regularly updated with the latest patches that are presented to you by your operating system. If you have Windows, for example, you will be notified of the latest Windows updates. It's very important to keep your computer updated as many of these patches provided by your OS will target bugs and loopholes that hackers can take advantage of.
Malicious code can infect a PC that hasn't been patched or updated within 15 minutes. This is just how efficient hackers and other cyber criminals have become at targeting vulnerable users. Don't become a statistic and keep your computer patched.
Install Anti-Virus Software
It won't take long for malware to infect your computer if you don't patch, but there are other ways your computer can remain vulnerable even if you do update with the latest updates. One of the most effective ways of protecting your computer from the online world is having a firewall installed. Firewalls are included in most Antivirus software packages, including McAfee Total Protection.
Come Up With Strong, Memorable Passwords
There are certain precautions you cannot live without when surfing the web and one of these is having strong passwords that secure your private information. You will often require a password to secure your online-based accounts, such as retailers like Amazon or eBay. You will also require a PIN for services such as online banking.
When coming up with your password, you should choose something that you are likely to remember Passwords can incorporate complex numbers, symbols and letters or can be a memorable sentence. These prove to be the strongest passwords.
We recommend a song lyric that is specific to you and that no one is likely to guess. Hacking algorithms will attempt to guess passwords by going through thousands of combinations, so an actual human sentence will be difficult to solve.
Swapping certain letters with numbers that correspond in terms of shape and style e.g. S and 5, can also help to reinforce your password.
Avoid Complicated Devices
If you're keen to jump into the world of technology, you won't be blamed for wanting to get your hands on something that's seriously upmarket and pushing the boundaries of complexity. Unfortunately, the price is often reflected by the capabilities of a device rather than its practicality. This should be seen as a good thing though, as you won't have to part with as much cash to secure a device that does everything a modern-day device should.
For the older generations who are new to the tech world, a device that provides access to calls, messages, popular apps and the internet is enough. You don't have to pay much to get these services from portable devices anymore, so try your best to find the border between complexity and practicality.
Follow the News
Once you join the online world, you should do your best to keep up to date with it. It is an ever-changing behemoth that deserves plenty of respect, so do your best to stay in the loop. Many of the latest tech news focuses on vulnerabilities in certain software programs, failures at the hands of service providers and virus outbreaks, all of which will be relevant to someone who stores personal information online.
Cyber crime has operated under-the-radar for decades, as has many attempts to publicise and expose it. Nowadays, there are plenty of news outlets that provide dedicated tech news columns for you to follow that will keep you well informed.