Akamai Diversity

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Security Awareness for Senior Citizens

We hear a lot about the need to educate kids on Internet security threats. But Christopher Burgess, CEO of security consultancy Prevendra, thinks the danger is even greater for senior citizens who haven't had the advantages of growing up in a hyper-connected world. 

"We focus so much on protecting our kids. Nobody is watching the seniors," he told me in a phone conversation this week. "A lot of people are invested in separating seniors from their personal information and money." 

That being the case, his company set out to do something about it.
It created the Senior Online Training Program, designed to give seniors the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves from scammers and identity thieves.

"You can ask any state's attorney general and they will provide you statistics where the senior/elderly population is viewed as the cream of the crop from the criminal targeting optic," he said. "Therefore, while our name Senior Online Safety implies our focus will be cyber oriented, we intend to address the confluence of physical and virtual worlds."

He listed the following factors that make the elderly a tempting target:   

  • They are perceived as not being technologically savvy.
  • They have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth.
  • Many live alone or are in a long-term care facility.
  • Long-term care facilities are data depositories with the crown jewels of data to effect an ID theft caper.

As part of the program, the company is using its blog space to impart useful, actionable information to the reader. The company also completed the product requirement document to create an application designed to push daily online safety reminders to subscribers. They're also releasing a book, "Senior Online Safety," which will be available in e-book formats in early April.

For more information, visit the Prevendra website.