A number of seniors are adapting to technology, and similar to many others in the society, perhaps more have chosen to adapt over the past two years so that they can continue doing personal business and stay in touch with the world without having to always leave the comfort of their homes.
Several seniors are now doing their banking, paying for groceries and meals, and making retail purchases online from their mobile devices, such as their smartphones or tablets, just like other people; or they are using their devices to access or send a variety of information, including videos and links, to keep themselves occupied and informed.
However, although many persons may not immediately think of their mobile devices as computers, they in fact are, cybersecurity analyst at the JN Group Garfield Rodriquez reminds persons, and one's mobile devices are just as vulnerable to attacks.
"Therefore, people, including seniors, have to exercise vigilance," he cautioned.
"Hackers have come to realise that because often our mobile devices are less likely to have anti-virus installed on them, as we don't think of them as computers, they target them with rogue apps, spoofed online websites and phishing e-mails to steal passwords; TRN and other customer data are also targeted; your credit card information; bank account numbers and a host of other confidential and personal information," he explained.
"This doesn't mean you shouldn't do your business from your phone or other mobile device, but you do need to be aware and cautious," Rodriquez said.
He provided some simple ways in which persons, including seniors, can protect themselves and their mobile devices from hackers.
1) First, install a reputable anti-virus application on your mobile device, Rodriquez recommended. "Anti-viruses aren't only for your desktop computers and laptops."
2) Second, he advised that one should ensure that their mobile device and mobile apps are kept updated with the latest system patches. That means once an update is made available by the manufacturers or application owners, one should install them.
3) When downloading a new app, one should take the time to carefully read the reviews before installing, he advised; and if there's a website that one has never heard of before, then a check should be made to ensure the site is legitimate. One easy way of doing this, Rodriquez recommends, is by going to the website virustotal.com, and simply entering the website address to check.
4) The cybersecurity analyst also advised that before making a purchase online, one should look for the company's phone numbers by checking its website and contacting their support personnel.
5) Before opening an e-mail, one should check the true origination. Persons should ask themselves: "'Do I know the sender?' 'Is this the regular tone of the person and the kinds of words he or she would use?'" Rodriquez said. "It's always a good idea to contact the e-mail sender immediately. However, not by replying to the e-mail!"
Also, people should not open an e-mail attachment if they are not expecting one, he urged. If there are links in the e-mail, one should first see where they are actually coming from before clicking. To do this on a mobile device, one can simply press and hold the link and wait for the address to appear. Pressing and holding the link will not lead to the site, he assured.
6) In addition, Rodriquez cautioned persons against using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions or to transmit sensitive information as these connections are not secure.
"We have to exercise vigilance always and at all times," he said.
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