Older people going online for the first time may need to learn about Internet safety & security. Protecting personal details, finances & computers is vital.
Older people invest in a computer for many different reasons. Some find it an easy way to keep in touch with distant family and friends; some want to use a laptop or tablet to buy products and services online to save money.
The over 50s and retired workers, often referred to as “silver surfers,” may, however, need time to get up to speed with online technology and some may need extra help with Internet safety and security.
Which Internet safety tips may be most useful?
Strong Passwords and Internet Safety
Many websites will ask users to register with them either before a site (or elements of it) can be accessed or as part of a purchasing process.
This will usually involve setting up a password and it is important to put some thought into this process to avoid common mistakes.
Ideally, passwords should be:
- Hard to guess: Avoid using family names and key dates. Use strong passwords (incorporating random letters, numbers and characters) to make them harder to hack.
- Changed regularly: Changing a password regularly can add to overall Internet security. This is especially the case with sites involving money (i.e. online banking and shopping sites).
- Different for every site: Avoid using the same password repeatedly. If it falls into the wrong hands then a hacker technically has access to all accounts.
Making it harder for a hacker to “crack” a password may help protect identity and finances.
Operating System Updates and Internet Security
Computers come with an operating system (such as Windows) that makes them do the tasks that they are supposed to do.
An out of date system may have areas of opportunity that Internet scammers and hackers can use to access a machine.
Allowing the operating system to run updates to download patches, fixes and upgrades may help users to keep their computers safe.
This can be set up to run automatically whenever updates are made available so the user will not have to worry about checking for themselves.
AntiVirus, Firewall and Internet Security Safety Tips
It is also a good idea to put additional security measures in place. Options here include anti virus programs, firewalls and spyware removal systems. These programs can help protect a computer and the individual’s data and details from external access.
Although many will purchase this software, some products are also available free online.
Operating systems and browsers may also come with security packages. Putting security in place can protect against malware, viruses, financial fraud and identity theft.
Internet Safety Tips When Shopping Online
Online shopping can be a great way of saving money and accessing products that may not be available locally. Users should, however, take care to protect their details and their finances in this process.
There are certain steps that may be worth taking when shopping at any site that can help keep transactions as safe as possible.
For example, it may be wise to:
- Make sure that shopping sites are secure (web addresses should start with the prefix “https://” and a small padlock should be shown on the bottom right of the screen).
- Buy from sites that are well-established and well-known. Avoid sites with offers so low that they set off alarm bells and companies that do not list an address and contact details on their website.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a good idea to send debit or credit card numbers and details via an email as this is not a secure system.