A recent report by Kaspersky Lab, an international cyber-security company, has revealed that a vast majority (86%) of the elderly Internet users across the globe, 55 years and older, are vulnerable targets for cybercriminals.
According to the findings of a research conducted by the Lab presented in a report entitled: “Older and Wiser? A look at the Threats Faced by Over-55s Online”, this age group is behaving insecurely online and often becomes the victim of fraud.
The survey questioned 12,546 Internet users across the globe and the results suggest that the older generation is actually a very attractive target for cyber-criminals. When they are online, many over-55s shop, bank and communicate with loved ones without effectively protecting themselves, and the things that are most important to them, from cyber-criminals, says the report.
Kaspersky Lab notes that despite the fact that this age group is more likely to install security software on their computers, they are less likely to protect their mobile devices or amend their behavior online to stay safe.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]“Yet despite all of this, nearly half of those over 55 years old (49%) worry about their vulnerability when purchasing products online and the vast majority (86%) do not believe they are a target for cyber-criminals. Worryingly, four in ten (40%) have put themselves at risk by sharing financial details in the public domain (compared with 15% across all age groups),” says the cyber-security company.[/quote]The report shows only 30% of the over-55s use high privacy settings on social media and in their internet browser, and that 28% are also unlikely to use the security functions that come with their devices (such as ‘find my device’) or VPN.
Kaspersky Lab explains that “the older generation is using the Internet for many aspects of their lives – increasing their vulnerability to cyber-criminals if they continue to go online without taking security precautions. They are using the Internet to communicate with others – 94% of consumers over 55 years old use email regularly. They are also going online to complete day-to-day tasks. This age group is more likely than others to conduct financial transactions over the internet, with 90% claiming to shop and bank online (compared to an average 84% of users across all age groups).”
“Yet despite all of this, nearly half of those over 55 years old (49%) worry about their vulnerability when purchasing products online and the vast majority (86%) do not believe they are a target for cyber-criminals. Worryingly, four in ten (40%) have put themselves at risk by sharing financial details in the public domain (compared with 15% across all age groups),” says the cyber-security company.
The lack of security awareness is causing this generation to be victimized by cyber-criminals. According to the report, 20% of Internet users overall have older relatives that have encountered malicious software, and 14% have older relatives that have fallen for fake prize draws online. In addition, 13% have older relatives that have shared too much personal information about themselves online and 12% have older relatives that have become the victim of an online scam, seen inappropriate or explicit content, or communicated with dangerous strangers online.
Andrei Mochola, head of consumer business at Kaspersky Lab. comments on the report: “The report shows clearly that this generation is embracing a connected life, and all of the opportunities that come with it. On the other hand, however, it’s clear that the over-55s are not doing enough to protect themselves properly. Worryingly, they don’t even believe they are a target for cyber-criminals, but they are putting themselves in danger time and again. At Kaspersky Lab, we are urging older internet users to become more aware of the dangers they face online, and to act in a more cyber-savvy manner.”