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Silver Surfer Day Aimed At Educated Older Generation Computer Users

Trend Micro : 24 May, 2010  (Technical Article)
As part of the internet awareness day in the UK, Trend Micro has produced some definitions of threats and tools available for the older generation
Friday May 21st marks the ninth annual Silver Surfers' Day in the UK, a day packed with free activities and training aimed at the estimated 9.2 million over-55s in the UK without internet access. The majority of the 'older generation' do not currently use the internet - many of them are fearful of the technology and falling victim to online fraudsters so it's important that first timers know the risks.

Many silver surfers are increasingly using the web to find information, join forums and groups with common hobbies and interests, book holidays, shop online, download photos and videos as well as sign up to social networks. However research by Trend Micro has revealed more than one in ten emails (11%) in April were malicious and disguised as special offers to those looking to buy medicine online, so for the 84% of those pensioners who are online this can be a risk.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro says "Criminals have now largely moved away from sending unconvincing looking mails or directly attaching malicious files, although of course these remain a risk. Instead Spam and Phishing now look far more professional and credible. If you receive email you were not expecting or that you are unsure of; do not be tempted to click the links in the email. One click on a booby-trapped link can be enough to get your machine infected and under criminal control."

"Online criminals operate on a mass scale so are indiscriminate about who they target", said Tony Neate, Managing Director at "Whether they are successful or not depends largely on two factors: firstly, how good we are at securing our computers; and secondly, how much we avoid risky activities and behaviours while we're using the internet."
Internet security firm Trend Micro has issued a list of simple guidelines, such as keeping anti-virus software up to date and tips on how to stay secure online.

* Spam - Unwanted email that fills your inbox, Spam is mostly commercial in nature, pushing counterfeit products or product that my not even exist at all.

* Phishing - For Phishing read "fishing"; these are emails that purport to come usually from your bank or credit card company. These emails try to persuade you to part with your login details either in an email reply or by directing you to a fake website.

* Fake websites - Web sites that are designed to look exactly like the one they are impersonating, usually banks, shopping sites or social networks. Criminals set up these web sites in the hope of luring their victims to part with their user names and passwords. Always check the address in the browser is the one you expect, if in doubt, use your bookmarks.

* Spyware - Malicious programs that steal your data and send it to criminals - typically for financial gain through theft of personal and confidential information

* Adware, pop up - Software which displays advertising on your PC or replaces legitimate advertisements on the web sites that you open - click on it at your peril

What tools are available?

Anti-virus software - Install the latest software and regularly update its list of known viruses

Firewalls - A firewall is a 'real time' barrier that blocks criminals from being able to connect to your computer directly.

Junk email filters - Most e-mail clients use sophisticated tools to filter Spam and junk mail, but some still slips into your inbox - if in doubt, don't open it!

What else can I do?

Browse the internet safely - Beware of strange looking web addresses. If the site you're visiting is unfamiliar to you, only proceed if you're absolutely sure the webpage will be safe

Stop spyware - Only install programs that you can be sure of, avoid installing or running anything proposed to you by an unfamiliar website. If in doubt contact the site directly over the telephone, if there's no number listed on the site, proceed with caution.

Secure wireless networks - If you're using wireless broadband, make sure that it is password protected and there is a firewall installed in your router (most come with one built in). If this is not something you feel confident with, ask a family member for help.

Get software up dates - Make sure your software is updated to the latest version. Internet browsers and operating systems are most targeted by hackers, so constantly update their software with new security features.

Compact top tips:

- Always install, update, and maintain firewalls and intrusion detection software, including those that provide malware/spyware security
- Use the latest Web browser version and install security patches when available
- Be skeptical when receiving emails that request account details (financial institutions should never request financial details in emails)
- Never email financial or personal details
- Only open email attachments from trusted parties and even then, double check with the sender.
- Never click on links in suspicious emails
- Report suspicious emails to appropriate authorities
- Regularly read the latest news and information regarding phishing
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