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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

For all the knowledge that younger people possess when it comes to being on social media and using the Internet, people who are 65 years and older are the ones who are catching up quickly and figuring it out.

It’s true.

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, analysis from a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2021, revealed that the presence on social media among Americans 65 and older grew about fourfold since 2010. And, since that time, the gap between adults under 30 and those 65 and older shrank from 71 percent to 39 percent. Even the use of YouTube (for people ages 65+) jumped from 38 to 49 percent.

It’s encouraging to see the demographics of innovation spread across generations. What’s more, we’re seeing the same kind of “digital” comfort, among older people extend to such things as owning a smartphone and other types of mobile devices (i.e. tablet computers). It’s fitting, perhaps, that this year’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Age My Way”, highlighting the many opportunities that older adults can explore as a solution for remaining in and being involved with their communities.

It’s the kind of progress that connects all of us to one another and keeps us together.

Of course, with any sort of advancements that are achieved using technology, because we’re human, we make decisions, often times, that are rooted in a sense of trust. A good thing.

But, unfortunately, just as we have that neighbor who borrows something from us and is kind of slow in getting it back to us, the world of cybersecurity is filled with bad actors and scammers who are doing everything they can to steal our hard-earned money, our Identity, and our personal information. It can be devastating, and this is especially true for all of us, especially as we get older, regardless of how we might define it.

The good news is, whether you’re looking over your feed on Facebook or paying your bills – there’s a variety of tips and best practices for what is often referred to as good cyber hygiene you can follow to stay safe anytime you are online. The same is true if you are someone who’s caring for someone who’s older (or, in poor health) in dealing with all things digital.

As part of its “Shields Up” campaign, The Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) offers a great deal of helpful information to be sure to use, including four things all of us (regardless of age) can do to stay cyber safe, including:

  • Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts. A password isn’t enough to keep you safe online. By implementing a second layer of identification, like a confirmation text message or email, a code from an authentication app, a fingerprint or Face ID, or best yet, a FIDO key,  you’re giving your bank, email provider, or any other site you’re logging into the confidence that it really is you.
    • Multi-factor authentication can make you 99% less likely to get hacked. So enable multi-factor authentication on your email, social media, online shopping, financial services accounts.
    • And don’t forget your gaming and streaming entertainment services!
  • Update your software. In fact, turn on automatic updates. Bad actors will exploit flaws in the system. Update the operating system on your mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.  And update your applications – especially the web browsers – on all your devices too.   Leverage automatic updates for all devices, applications, and operating systems.
  • Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.  A phishing scheme is when a link or webpage looks legitimate, but it’s a trick designed by bad actors to have you reveal your passwords, social security number, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information.
    • Once they have that information, they can use it on legitimate sites. And they may try to get you to run malicious software, also known as malware.
    • If it’s a link you don’t recognize, trust your instincts, and think before you click.
  • Use strong passwords, and ideally a password manager to generate and store unique passwords.  Our world is increasingly digital and increasingly interconnected. So, while we must protect ourselves, it’s going to take all of us to really protect the systems we all rely on.

Additionally, CISA’s “Cybersecurity and Older Americans” fact sheet includes a series of precautions to follow when it comes to medical advice, banking and shopping, as well as:

  • Keeping your mobile devices in your possession at all times and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, be sure to limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Most businesses or organizations don’t ask for your personal information over email. Beware of any requests to update or confirm your personal information.
  • Avoid opening attachments, clicking on links, or responding to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information.

Here in Indiana, cybersecurity is important and the Hoosier State is recognized nationally as one of THE leading states for cyber among all states and our Indiana Cyber Hub website (if you’re reading this blog – you’re on it) is filled with all kinds of the latest FREE resources, best practices and tips for all Hoosiers, businesses and local government.

Want to learn more about cyber? We invite you to also check out our “Assess Yourself” website page where you’ll find a series of short online quizzes that you can use to see how your measure up.

One thing’s for sure, you’ll discover that you’re never too old to get in on the latest trends!