The internet at large is full of predators that can gather your information and use it in any way they see fit. Whether it is used to serve you ads or malicious software someone somewhere is always looking for personal data to use for their own gain. There are ways to protect yourself.
Basic Computer Security
The first thing an internet user can do is to have some type of anti-virus program installed. If you are a Windows user of the internet, the most basic anti-virus program to install is Windows Security Essentials or Windows Defender, depending on which version of Windows you are using currently. Another popular operating system is, of course, Macintosh by Apple. The iOS is very popular, especially among those that don’t want to deal with hassles of installing a lot of programs to keep them safe from predators. Companies like iTOK provide good antivirus solutions for Apple devices, which are bought for many people, especially seniors wanting an easy anti-virus solution.
The Apple devices, including iPads and iPhones are often less prone to viruses, and are easy to use. Many older adults do not receive training in how to use their devices once they get them in their hands, and they can become confused on how to use them properly. One particular survey says that about two-thirds of older adults have never received any training at all on how to use the devices they are given or gifted, and so they may even be hesitant to use them! Only 23% were given extra help after receiving these devices as a gift. This is not good for the older population that is trying to learn how to use web-based tools such as social media, including Facebook or Instagram, to share stories, pictures, and memories with their family.
Always be aware of what kind of anti-virus program is running on your computer or handheld devices. One only needs one anti-virus per device. Running a lot of them will not help you; in fact, they may interfere with each other. Keep your anti-virus programs up to date with the latest security definitions. Don’t worry too much about this, as you will generally be prompted for updates to the programs. Even with anti-virus installed on a computer it is not invincible. Some newer viruses may slip through the cracks unnoticed by a program. Be vigilant about not opening attachments in emails from people or companies you do not recognize and trust 100%. Do not visit unscrupulous websites or download any tempting-looking programs from them. Some common sense rules apply here, so only do what you are comfortable with.