For those of us who grew up in the Internet age, staying safe online is relatively straightforward. Our experience with computers means that we have a good basic understanding of malware, hackers and other threats that could be used to steal personal information.
Our elderly relatives are not so lucky – they did not use computers at school, and most of them have never had any proper training. Many are completely unaware of how many criminals are trying to steal credit card information and other profitable information from them.
Despite their inexperience, elderly people are being expected to spend more on time. Many government services need to be processed online for instance. Banking is also increasingly conducted via the internet as banks close their high street branches in favour of low-cost online services.
So how can you help your older relatives stay safe online?
1. Protect their PC
Your computer is generally the easiest target for criminals. If hackers can install malware, or hack into the system, they can start collecting sensitive information like passwords and banking details.
The first step to protecting your relatives is to ensure they have robust, up-to-date anti-malware software installed. You should choose an application like Panda Gold Protecton which scans and blocks malware automatically, and protects their most sensitive data from being stolen.
The Panda Gold service also comes with full technical support, so your relatives have an expert to talk to whenever they run into problems, or need assistance.
2. Teach them how to surf safely
Most of the internet is completely safe to browse, but hackers are always looking for new ways to trick people into handing over their personal data. You should spend a few hours teaching your relative how to tell the difference between safe and unsafe websites, and the signs they need to be looking out for.
This training doesn’t need to be too involved, but you need to show them:
- How to spot a secure website
- How to choose a really secure password
- How to check a website address is legitimate
- Any other tricks you use to avoid becoming the victim of a scam
3. Teach them about email attachments
Hackers also love to use email to trick people – a technique known as phishing. Your relatives need to understand that people will often send emails pretending to be a bank in order to steal their money.
Again, you need to help your family to protect themselves by:
- Never opening email attachments from people they don’t recognise
- Never sending passwords or account details via email – even if they think the request comes from their bank
- To scan email attachments to check they do not contain malware
If you need some help, try these 10 tips to prevent phishing attacks.
The key to keeping your older relatives safe online is a combination of technology and training. Ensure they have a good security application installed, and that you help them understand the basics of safe surfing.
If you can get these two factors correct, you are well on the way to helping them stay safe.