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Older Americans, a growing presence online,
need to learn How to guard against
Verizon Offers Simple Steps for Seniors -
and All Internet Users - to Protect
YORK, Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Older
Americans, who grew up in the era of
rotary-dial phones and black and white TV
programming, may still be in the minority
among Internet users. But they are a rapidly
growing presence on the Web and are making
their mark on social networking websites.
As a result they are potential targets of
cybercriminals -- and need to learn how to
best protect themselves online.
Like Internet users of all ages and levels
of Web savvy, seniors can benefit from the national
cyber security awareness campaign being
conducted during October. The
public-private initiative – Stop! Think!
Connect! -- spearheaded by the National
Cyber Security Alliance, the Department
Securityand companies like Verizon,
is designed to get out the message that
online safety is everyone's responsibility.
More and more, older Americans are using
social networking to connect with far-flung
family and friends, sharing photos, home
videos and personal messages. A Pew
Research Center study report, for example,
found that the number of Americans over the
age of 74 using social networking sites
quadrupled in less than two years – a much
faster rate than reported for any other age
"The Internet has become a fast and easy way
for people of all ages to access information
and entertainment," said Verizon network
security expert Marcus Sachs.
"Unfortunately, it's also become an
effective tool for crooks looking for easy
access to personal information, such as
social security numbers or bank account
numbers and passwords.
"From kids to seniors, protecting
yourself and your data online may be
easier than most people realize. We want
to make sure senior citizens are
informed of some simple steps to protect
themselves," Sachs said.
Some steps, which all Internet users should
Make sure you have anti-virus and
anti-spyware software installed
on your computer, and make sure it is
Make sure your computer's firewall is
turned on. It is an effective way of
blocking unauthorized access to your
computer and sensitive information in your
If you are using a wireless
router for your home network, make sure
it has adequate security. Verizon
recommends the use of a minimum of WPA or
WPA2 security encryption on home routers.
Don't get hooked by phishing
schemes. Beware of links in emails to
sites you don't recognize; don't ever
provide personal information as a result of
an email or pop-up; and remember that
reputable businesses never ask for personal
information via email or pop-ups.
If online offers seem too good to be true,
they probably are. Downloading software,
music or videos offered as "free" may come
at a high price – they might include malware
or spyware that
can infect your computer and steal personal
information. Download files only from sites
you know and trust.
Beware of people you meet for the first time
on social networking sites. Don't reveal
personal information about yourself or your
friends and family in a way that may
compromise their safety or identity.
Familiarize yourself with the privacy
settings on the social networking sites you
use and chose the appropriate options for
Passwords, passwords, passwords. As
recommended by the National Cyber Security
Alliance, make your passwords "long and
strong" by combining capital and lowercase
letters with numbers and symbols. Separate
passwords for separate accounts will also
make things more difficult for
Additional tips and excerpts from a pamphlet
created for seniors are available at the Verizon
Parental Control Center. Nationally
known identity-theft expert Robert Siciliano,
an online safety blogger for Verizon partner
McAfee, also offers his guidance for seniors
from the Verizon@home site.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:
VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global
leader in delivering broadband and other
wireless and wireline communications
services to consumer, business, government
and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless
operates America's most reliable wireless
network, with more than 106 million total
connections nationwide. Verizon also
provides converged communications,
information and entertainment services over
America's most advanced fiber-optic network,
and delivers integrated business solutions
to customers in more than 150 countries,
including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30
company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce
of nearly 196,000 and last year generated
consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.
For more information, visit www.verizon.com .