Internet Safety Tips and Facts for Adults

older-couple-surfing-the-internet

While there’s an overwhelming misconception that older generations don’t know how to use technology, studies show that over 67% of people age 65 and over use the internet regularly. Whether for social media or streaming entertainment, it’s become an everyday occurrence that has just as much of an effect on the lives of older adults as it does for younger generations. 

It’s important to note, however, that older adults grew up without the internet, and therefore, may be unaware of some of its inherent risks. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when spending time online.

Create Unique and Secure Passwords

It’s tempting to make your password something simple, such as your name or birthday, but those are also the easiest passwords for potential hackers to guess. A strong password should never include personal information or common phrases. It’s always best for your password to include a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This way, your password is even more difficult for hackers to obtain.

One of the most common mistakes people make is using the same password for all of their accounts. While this makes it easier to remember passwords, it also makes all of your accounts vulnerable. By having a unique password for each of your accounts, even if someone is able to gain access to one, they will still be locked out of the others.

Install Anti-Malware Software

Sometimes, it can be easy to accidentally download a file that seems normal, but actually contains a virus or other impairment, known as malware. Anti-malware software scans every item on your computer to ensure that your device stays secure. This way, you can download virtually whatever you want without risking your peace of mind.

Avoid Unknown Attachments

When first going digital, it can be difficult to realize that not everything on the internet is well-intentioned. Even with anti-malware software installed, it’s always best to avoid downloading unknown files or email attachments. If you don’t know what they are or where they came from, don’t install them or open them. This extends to any form of documents, images, or software. 

Often, scammers will create a seemingly helpful or interesting piece of content, only to secretly implant it with malware. Unsuspecting internet-users then find these attachments, download them, and are left with a device compromised by malware. If you are going to download an attachment, make sure it is from a trusted or verified source before adding it to your device.

Identify Scams

Outside of using ill-intentioned attachments to get your information, scammers may also reach out to you directly disguised as someone or something else. If you see something online that seems too good to be true, such as a free vacation or medicine, it usually is.

One of the most popular forms of scams is called phishing. It involves a scammer building a fake site designed to look like a trusted source and trick you into giving them your payment information. Be especially cautious of any site with multiple grammatical errors or a URL that is different than what you’ve seen in the past. A big red flag to look out for is sites that ask you to enter your financial information. 

Scammers may even pose as friends or family in an attempt to gain access to your accounts or finances. For this reason, you should never send payment information or funds to an email address you don’t recognize, even if the sender claims to know you. Double-check with your friend or family member via a trusted line of communication before responding. 

Visit Secure Websites

Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to find out if a web page is secure. Simply look at the website URL at the top of the page. If it begins with the letters “https”, you can rest assured knowing it is secure, as the “s” stands for secure. Alternatively, if the URL simply reads “http”, you’ll know the webpage is not secure. No personal or financial information should ever be entered on a webpage that is not secure, or you might run the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Knowing how to surf the web safely can make your time more enjoyable and stress-free, which is what we at Overture are all about. Contact us today to learn more about our active lifestyle.