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53% elders at risk of online fraud. Here’s how you can help

A report released by cybersecurity service provider Tsaaro sought to understand online risks faced by elders, and shares basic guidelines to help them

It was discovered that a significant number of elders had no idea what data privacy was, said the study (Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash)

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In a study of over 1000 people across India, Tsaaro, a cybersecurity services provider has found that elders don’t have a strong understanding of online privacy. This means that they are unable to protect against risk of data breaches.

“It was discovered that a significant number of elders had no idea what data privacy was, or were unaware of the safeguards available to protect their online privacy,” said the Tsaaro Privacy Among Elders Report 2022 released yesterday. It adds that this “result(ed) in them sharing personal data that was not required online.”

Tsaaro, which was founded in January 2021 by Akarsh Singh and Rohit Jain, had the survey open to participants of all age groups. “The purpose …(of not) limiting it to elders was in order to gain better insight by allowing participants to fill it in for their loved ones,” said the report.

Of the respondents, 70% considered elders a soft target for online frauds, 53% had someone in their circle as a victim. Only 34% of those who participated in the survey felt that elders are aware of the measures to safeguard their privacy.

Also read: Kids in India have more exposure to online risks, says study

The report comes at a time when mobile phones and various other smart connected devices — including smart TVs, smart watches, and other virtual assistant technologies — are commonly used across various homes.

“Elders' use of technology poses significant privacy and security concerns…Mobile devices capture a wide range of data on their users, from in-app activity to communications to movement and location data provided by phone sensors, and this data is acquired in ways that are not necessarily clear to elders,” the report said, adding that mobile phones are used “to generate and share sensitive data, such as emails, text messages, and financial transactions, which could compromise their privacy and security.”

Here are eight key takeaways from the study, with which you can help the elders (or anyone else) in your family and social circles ensure online and offline data privacy.

Never share: Do not share your private credentials (OTP, passwords, CVV, ATM pin) with anyone

Passwords should be long and complex: Keep it long, use as many characters as you can, and make sure that your credentials aren’t easy to crack.

Be wary of fraud: If you sense that any unknown call, e-mail, or message might be fraud, always act according to that assumption and avoid it.

Device settings and permissions: Monitor your devices regularly for the permissions which have been granted to different applications and check for any unnecessary downloads.

Do not use public networks and devices: Never log from an untrusted public network/computer, the network could be infected.

Think before you share: Information shared on the internet can never be deleted, which means if you want to keep a piece of information only to yourself then never share it online.

Two-factor authentication: Use two-factor authentication for your accounts. Instead of just protecting your accounts with a password, enabling two-factor authentication would ensure more protection, as it involves two phases/layers of security.

Reset: Reset all your passwords once in a while, instead of overusing them.

    25.05.2022 | 01:15 PM IST

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