As the world observes October as Cyber Security Awareness Month, it is essential to engage the senior community in conversations about cybersecurity.
The elderly, according to an article by Digicel Jamaica, are constantly urged to be vigilant against hackers, scammers and phishing schemes but we often forget to educate them about one of the most prevalent online threats today — the spread of misinformation (fake news) via clickbait.
Clickbait is online content designed for the sole purpose of attracting attention and encouraging visitors to click on a particular web page. Usually, clickbait lures Internet users online with attractive headlines that promise to reveal enticing information about everything from success to celebrities, religion or politics. Whether you use the Internet for work or leisure, you are bound to come across something like “Lose Weight without Exercise in Five Days” or “Man Tries to Pet Shark'', or more recently, things like “You Won't Believe What They are Hiding From You About the COVID-19 Vaccine”.
Clickbait headlines are usually misleading and rarely deliver the information promised, furthermore, they are often a key source of targeted misinformation and even malware and other harmful software. For many unsuspecting Internet users, particularly senior citizens who fall prey to clickbait, privacy and personal details may become compromised. This type of exposure can have grave consequences, threatening their financial or even physical safety.
The results of a 2018 study by the New York University's Centre for Social Media and Politics showed that older adults were one of the groups that showed a higher “preference for clickbait”. This means that seniors are not only a targeted group for clickbait but also more likely to consume, believe and share clickbait links. This makes it harder to stop the spread of malware and debunk misinformation surrounding topical issues such as COVID-19, vaccines, and conspiracy theories.
Tips on protecting yourself against clickbait:
● Avoid unsafe or suspicious websites that prompt you to click on links, complete a survey or download extra plug-ins to access the content you are looking for.
● Look for the 'S' in HTTPS, when browsing online. The 'S' means the website is safe and secure.
● Do not insert or upload personal information or banking details to unknown websites.
● Do not click on unknown links or attachments. These may prompt the installation of malware to your smart device or computer and grant third-party access to personal data.
● Never reveal your passwords to anyone. Create long, strong and unique passwords and use multi-factor authentication like thumbprints, wherever possible.
● Install antivirus software to help prevent pop-ups and malware.
It's easy for anyone to expose themselves online, not just seniors. This is why all of us at Digicel encourage everyone to follow these tips in order to limit their exposure to clickbait, misinformation, and cybercriminals.
— Source: Digicel Jamaica