Senior Citizens and Cybersecurity

Senior citizens have always been the most affected by increased cybercrimes post-pandemic. The primary reason is that they must be made aware of the latest security updates and features that tech giants release. Aside from all the responsibilities we carry for the seniors of our household, we should also constantly make it a point to coach them with the do's and don'ts in the virtual world.


If we go by the recent data, about 17% are senior citizens in the US, and if we look it the other way around, it translates to how much it means to the threat actors in terms of monetary gains. Another major factor in seniors being vulnerable is the rising cost of living, leading them to disconnect from the younger generation in their family. Another step towards achieving this goal is to make cybersecurity awareness mandatory in assisted living centers so everyone can participate and learn how to stay safe against cyber threats. There can be some dedicated podcast platforms for seniors where the industry leaders in various levels of cybersecurity could bring awareness because older generations would love to listen since they grew up in the age of radios. So let's look into the roadmap of how implementing essential steps can bring in the much-needed safety against the threat actors.


Step 1: Start by bringing up cybersecurity tips when you get to meet your parents or grandparents, thus reminding them that safety is equally important in the physical and virtual worlds. Talk to them about those phony links on the email or those fake profiles on social media platforms that tend to steal information related to financial institutions or health records and, in a way, increase their confidence and awareness of the virtual world.


Step 2: Do check on their computers and mobile devices periodically for anything suspicious by getting them to subscribe to antivirus programs like Bitdefender, which has a combination of features against viruses, malware, ransomware, Tracking protection on the browsers, password manager, and video and audio protection which protects the privacy by stopping cyberattacks which might track and record the activity. It also has a built-in tool to optimize the computer periodically, thus giving complete 360-degree protection. Going by the latest reviews, I strongly recommend Bitdefender as the go-to solution for consumers in the senior citizen category, even against the most sophisticated cyberattacks.


Step 3: Gift your parents and grandparents external storage more like an SSD which can be set up to take periodic backups of the computers and mobile devices, thus preventing any form of data loss in the aftermath of a significant cyber-attack. We know how much it means to have our data backed up, and the same applies to seniors too, because they live their memories through those backups consisting majorly of photos and videos, and those old receipts when buying something important for the family.


Step 4: Get them subscribed to Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection which scans the web and prevents personal data breaches by having a 24/7/365 monitoring system embedded in the platform. Such digital identity services are of great use in today's world, considering the fact how common data breaches have come and how instantly those pieces of information exchange hands on the dark web, and if we don't act now, then it will be a now-or-never situation.


Step 5: Set up a SIM PIN on their phone to prevent SIM swapping, which has been taking place for quite some time now, but we have yet to pay much heed to it as we always wait before it really happens to us. The advantages of having a SIM PIN in place can prevent any unauthorized use of the phone numbers by any threat actors as they can easily route all the secure codes by swapping the SIM and take over bank accounts or email, or even your health records, thus using that information to make monetary gains which always remain far from being recovered.


Step 6: Install browser extensions like UBlock Origin and Privacy Badger which gives additional protection along with the Bitdefender Anti Tracking mechanism mentioned in Step 2 against those websites which constantly track us by making us accept cookies which then monitors how we interact and how much time we spend on different websites. This is an essential step for senior citizens since they end up browsing a great number of websites for playing games or social media where they keep in touch with their loved ones or even shop online. The importance of having active and strong Anti Tracking protection has been proved by the situation of the Genesis Marketplace, where the Federal agencies of the US, along with those of the European Union, jointly raided this underground market where along with browser credentials, the cookie data also exchanged hands which points to the fact the creative ways the threat actors are planning against us.


Step 5: Install a password manager, the most recommended being NordPass, where the credentials along with credit card info can be securely stored along with the feature of generating a strong combination of passwords that gives ultimate protection against cyber attacks. NordPass also has features like secure notes for storing personal notes and Biometrics. The advanced encryption algorithms in NordPass give it an edge over the other password managers too. The password health feature in NordPass can detect weak, reused, or old passwords, and it would also scan if any information that's personally identifiable to you is out there in any of the data leaks. The Secure Item Sharing in NordPass also allows you to share the passwords securely with your most trusted ones only if they use NordPass.


Let's work together to create a secure and more threat-resistant environment, thus protecting our loved ones, especially the seniors, for how much they love us; taking this opportunity, I would like to call out every one of us to be a CyberSec Warrior.