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Cybercriminals often target older adults who might be less tech-savvy than younger generations. There are many different ways hackers can steal your private information, so it’s important to follow certain safety practices when using the internet and logging in and out of devices.
Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself from cybercriminal schemes:
Use strong passwords
If you haven’t set up strong passwords for your phone, laptop or other devices, make sure to do so immediately. Passwords are the first line of defense against people trying to access your private information. When you leave your phone unattended without a required passcode or with a very weak one, anyone can pick it up and potentially start looking through your files, from pictures to emails and text messages. When you create your passwords, make them as strong as possible by having at least eight characters, and using a unique set of letters, numbers and symbols.
Beware of email scams
Did you know that 73% of adults over the age of 45 have been targeted by email scams? The most common attack vector is the phishing scam, which involves cybercriminals impersonating trustworthy entities, such as a bank or insurance company, in order to obtain sensitive material like credit card details, Social Security numbers, login credentials, etc. As a rule of thumb, don’t ever send someone your private information via email, no matter who they claim to be. If you get an “urgent” email from a “representative of your bank” asking for your checking account routing number, ignore it.
Remember to log out
Just because you close the Facebook app doesn’t mean you’re logged out of the account. If someone gets access to your phone or laptop, they’ll be able to open up and look through any accounts that you’re still logged into. This can lead to a serious invasion of privacy and theft of personal information. The tedium of having to log in and out of websites and apps more frequently is a small price to pay for the added level of security.
Do not engage with ‘virus alert’ pop-ups
When you’re on the internet and a message pops up saying that your computer is infected with a virus, don’t click on it. Though it’ll claim to be the solution, it’s actually the problem. These pop-ups, known as scareware, are an attempt by cybercriminals to trick you into giving them access to your computer so that they can infect it with malware. When you come across this, immediately reboot the device and clear your browsing history.
Stay away from ‘free” prizes and gifts
You might get an email or see a pop-up on a website that says you won a free prize. Or in many cases, they’ll pose as a trusted entity, like Google or Amazon, promising to send you a reward for filling out a short survey. Do not click on these messages, as they will most likely lead to a malware infection. Instead, ignore the pop-up and exit out of that page.
Think before you share
When you’re using social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, try to avoid sharing personal information like where you live and the company you work for, so that it isn’t accessible to strangers. Also, make sure your accounts are set to private, so that when you do post things, the only ones who can see them are people you trust.
Download antivirus software
There are many security solutions that will help protect you from cybercriminal activity online. They can detect malware, from viruses to worms, and remove it from your system. Once you’ve downloaded suitable antivirus software for your computer, make sure to keep it updated, either manually or automatically.
If you need a solid antivirus solution or just want to learn more about protecting yourself from cybercrime, visit us at Total Defense today!