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10 Tips for Staying Safe Online

10 Tips for Staying Safe Online

Miscellaneous  |  Technology

As seniors embrace technology to stay connected with loved ones, manage finances, or access health care resources, they become susceptible to scams, identity theft, and phishing attempts. Fostering a secure online environment is key to navigating the digital landscape safely and confidently.

With February’s observances of Safer Internet Day and National Clean Out Your Computer Day, these 10 tips will help you protect yourself in an increasingly digital world.

  1. Keep software updated: Regular software updates are your digital armor. Regularly update your operating system, antivirus software, and applications. Updates often include security patches that protect against the latest threats.
  2. Use strong and unique passwords: Relying on familiar and weak passwords can leave you vulnerable to a cyber intrusion. When financial or other accounts are compromised, you can face a stressful and challenging situation, one that can be difficult to resolve. Strong and unique passwords for your online accounts are your first line of defense. Avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
    Computer Password
  3. Enable two-factor authentication: Add an extra layer of security to your accounts by enabling two-factor authentication. This is a security process that requires users to verify their identity through two distinct authentication methods, typically a password and a temporary code sent to your mobile device. The process provides increased protection against unauthorized users accessing your accounts.
  4. Be wary of phishing attempts: Have you ever received an email seemingly from your bank or another institution requesting sensitive information? This is a common scam called phishing. It is a onlin where cybercriminals attempt to trick you into disclosing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or financial details by posing as trustworthy entities or companies. Be cautious when opening emails from unknown sources and avoid clicking on links in those emails.
  5. Secure your Wi-Fi network: Protect your network with a strong password, and consider using WPA3 encryption for added security. Avoid using default usernames and passwords for your router.
  6. Use secure websites: Look for “https://” in the website URL, indicating a secure connection. Avoid entering sensitive information on websites that don’t have this secure protocol.
    Computer Settings
  7. Be mindful of social media privacy settings: Social media accounts can be a goldmine for identity thieves because of lax privacy settings. Take control of your online presence by adjusting privacy settings and limiting public sharing. Review and adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms to control who can see your information, and avoid sharing sensitive personal details publicly.
  8. Regularly back up your data: Many of your most important memories and documents might be saved on a computer. Ensure that your valuable files and documents are regularly backed up, either to an external hard drive or through an online cloud service. This protects you from data loss in the event of a computer failure or ransomware attack.
  9. Educate yourself about online scams: Those who are uninformed about common online scams can be easy targets. Stay vigilant, educate yourself, and keep informed about scams and tactics used by cybercriminals. Knowledge is a powerful tool to avoid falling victim to scams.
  10. Teach others about online safety: Share your knowledge with friends and family members to create a safer online community. Encourage others to follow best practices for online safety.

By employing these tips, you can avoid the dangers that plague many seniors and significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to cyber threats. In honor of Safer Internet Day and National Clean Out Your Computer Day, commit to safety and incorporate these lessons into your digital practices to ensure a protected and enjoyable online presence.

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About Presbyterian Senior Living

PSL is a mission-driven organization that lives our values of integrity, mutual respect, creative curiosity, and connectedness. Building on a legacy of 96 years, we provide residential and care services to more than 6,000 seniors in 27 locations across the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.