Thursday, 18 March 2021 11:35

What Can Businesses Do to Protect Older Internet Users from Cybercrime?

By Tom Birch
What Can Businesses Do to Protect Older Internet Users from Cybercrime? Pixabay

Guest Opinion: The Australian government has begun an earnest battle against ransomware in March 2021. Citizens are being urged to increase their cyber literacy to understand what malware, ransomware, and potential cybercrime may look like. Peter Dutton’s report may have pointed to the basics – multi-factor authentication and encrypted sites – but what else can businesses and regular Australians do to combat cybercrime?

The first line of defence of encryption and password control should be a given, especially as more of the population is moving online. As older generations begin their online journeys, extra care must be taken to ensure they aren’t sucked into scams. Younger people may be savvier to what a bad actor in the digital world looks like, but older people aren’t. So, as much as it is important to provide as much education as possible, businesses must do something too.

Preventing Malicious Ads

One of the main ways in which someone less familiar with the internet could be subject to malware is through a malicious advertisement.  But there are ways to prevent these malicious ads from seeing the light of day – and it’s not just down to one party. As GeoEdge show, it’s down to both publishers and platforms to work to prevent bad actor ads from blighting the digital landscape.

Publishers must ensure that no low-quality or malicious ads reach their audience. Platforms must ensure that all ads served via the platform are free from a potential threat. This two-pronged approach shows that there is a lot that can be done before the onus is placed on the (sometimes unsavvy) site user.

ICS 2 Image

Source: Pixabay

Protecting Email Inboxes

Elsewhere, email providers must work to prevent threats from appearing in users’ inboxes. Sometimes these threats seem genuine – such as when they appear to be from telecoms agencies or banks. Most reputable email providers have a strong filtration system. Many warn that some senders aren’t saved as contacts and are from external agencies, while others filter out spam immediately.

But some spam email senders manage to bypass controls. In some cases, the spam email is specifically targeted, so it bypasses filters. In this case, a combination of education and spam control could be implemented. The rule of thumb should be that emails never contain sensitive financial information and almost never have a call to action that would involve revealing personal information. If in doubt, don’t open it and check-in person. Banking providers are keen on ensuring their older clientele are catered for, so will most likely understand if an email was ignored for safety reasons.  

In any war taking place in a digital sphere, education is the best defence. Teaching people what to do if they suspect there is a ransomware or malware attack and how to avoid them are both crucial. But it can be hard to educate against threats that haven’t yet made themselves known or against threats that are so well disguised. Ultimately, businesses have a responsibility to people who use their sites to defend them. This goes for ensuring site visitors aren’t sucked in by malicious advertising and ensuring that email security defends against any potential scams.


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