The Elderly and Cybersecurity

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Technology and the Elder Generation

Technology may be a young man's game, but it affects everyone in society. As a result, it is critical that even the elder generation joins in order to protect themselves from the perils of technology. While technology has provided numerous benefits, it has also introduced new challenges to the world. Cyber security attacks are the most dangerous. Cyber security is defined as the safeguarding of computer data, systems, or networks (Goud, 2017). They say that prevention is better than cure, and Sony's recent losses demonstrate this point. Sony was hacked and lost a significant amount of money as a result. Additionally, the recently concluded American presidential election was marred by allegations of hacking by Russian authorities sparking tension between arguably the two most powerful nations in the world. Such is the dangers of cybercrime and given that powerful entities are vulnerable, it only shows how important it is for everyone to remain vigilant (Goud, 2017). Consequently, in this paper, I will look into the cybercrime complexities and how the elderly can protect themselves from it.

Cybersecurity Threats Analysis

According to the Open Web Application Security Project ([OWASP], 2017), the top ten web application security vulnerabilities are; injection, cross-site scripting, broken authentication and session management, insecure direct object referencing, cross-site request forgery, security misconfiguration, insecure cryptographic storage, failure to restrict URL access, insufficient transport layer protection, and invalidated redirects and forwards. This only represents threats to web applications and with the increasing reliance on mobile phones, the threats will only get broader. Additionally, in 2012, approximately 53% of Americans aged 65 years and above had a connection to the internet and email accounts. This marked an increase in the prevalence rate of the internet among the elderly (Goud, 2017).

Cybercriminals' Techniques

Cybercriminals' greatest asset is ignorance. They prey on people's lack of knowledge to manipulate us into falling for their tricks. If you carefully look into the OWASP top ten, you will notice that most of the hacks are not on a network level instead they are in your applications. Hackers focus on hacking the person, not the machine. They do this using phishing, pharming, the man in the middle and social engineering techniques (Perkins, 2014). Additionally, they exploit some of the system vulnerabilities using viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojans. While tech companies have launched a full assault against such attacks, people remain to be the easiest targets, especially the elderly. So, given their lack knowledge in tech matters, the elderly can protect themselves using some techniques (Perkins, 2014).

How the Elderly can Protect Themselves

At the center of cybercrime is personal information. Protecting this information is as important as knowing how to use the technology itself. The elderly can protect their information by; selecting strong passwords that are made up of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols, use of privacy settings in social media platforms, avoiding sending personal information via emails to businesses, avoiding to click on pop-ups in web and mobile applications, installing good anti-virus applications into their devices, updating software frequently, and ignoring the so-called "free" gifts messages on websites (Perkins, 2014). Additionally, the elderly can further protect themselves by visiting only reliable websites when looking for information on the web. This can be done by checking for sites ending with .edu or .gov when seeking official information on matters. Also, when online banking, they should use their own personal devices at all times and never share social security information (Perkins, 2014). Finally, when visiting websites, checking for the https protocol to ensure they are on secure network websites is important.


Knowledge is power and by keeping themselves abreast with the ever-changing trends in the world of cybersecurity will only help the elderly to better protect themselves. Also, when in difficult situations, asking and looking for professional help is always important. Finally, cybersecurity is all about being vigilant.


Naveen, Goud. (2017). "How to Protect Elderly from Cyber Attacks?" Cybersecurity Insiders.

Retrieved from

Open Web Application Security Project. (2017). "OWASP Top Ten Project" OWASP.

Retrieved from

Perkins, Abby. (2-14). Cyber security Tips for seniors. SENIORS Guide. Retrieved from

May 17, 2023


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