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Safety & Privacy

Securing home WiFi for older adults

by Plume Security Team

October 2021
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Wifi home security for older adults

Managing a home WiFi network can become a job on its own, especially when people aren't aware of todays' cyber-security risks. This is often the case for older adults who are still mastering the use of digital devices. A recent study found that elderly people tend to be more trusting and less confident with technology, making them more vulnerable to malware and online fraud. They also often lack the basic technical knowledge required for things like connecting a router or updating software. Whether it's your parents, grandparents, or the sweet elderly lady living next door, here's how to help the older adults in your life better secure their home WiFi network.

Keep software updated and use anti-virus software

Make sure all computers, tablets, routers, smartphones, and smart devices (such as smart light bulbs) are updated regularly. Some manufacturers will alert customers to new software versions via email, but it helps to check in periodically if you're not receiving them. While many software updates will address security issues, computers should still run anti-virus software that regularly scans for and eliminates threats.

Shop pre-owned with caution

Purchasing a pre-owned device can be a way to save on electronics, but it's not without risk. Make sure older adults consider the security risks of buying secondhand devices. Secondhand smartphones can pose a security risk because they may be running an outdated operating system that's no longer supported by the manufacturer. Such devices stop receiving security updates and may contain multiple unpatched vulnerabilities. Secondhand computers pose a similar risk and may even contain malware. If someone is set on buying something pre-owned, help them find certified refurbished devices from a reputable electronics refurbisher and make sure the devices have been wiped free of personal data and are in good working order.

Retire out-of-date devices

Manufacturers don't support all electronic devices indefinitely. Replace or retire older devices that no longer receive security updates. Personal computing devices such as computers and smartphones are especially vulnerable since they tend to be used for personal business such as online banking and tax filing. Other devices such as routers, smart light bulbs, and thermometers can also become security risks once software updates cease. Smart home devices, such as smart TVs, can be used after software updates are no longer issued, but should be disconnected from the home WiFi network.

Encourage cyber-security education

Encourage the older adults in your life to participate in cyber-security awareness training to help them become more risk aware. This type of education is designed to address challenges they may face online and, ideally, should be an ongoing activity since attack methods continue to evolve.

Connect them with a trusted source for tech support

Older adults may find it more difficult to get technical support from trustworthy sources after retirement. Having family members or community groups available to help with technology can give seniors peace of mind. Finding a trusted local technical support vendor can be helpful for when others aren't available.

Set up a managed WiFi network

A managed WiFi network can help defend the network without requiring user intervention. It allows remote troubleshooting and management by the service provider. This cloud-based administration model also allows providers to provide better security for their subscribers.

Use automated WiFi security and intrusion detection

An automated WiFi security and intrusion detection system can provide an added layer of security to a home network. Automating home network security for older adults can take the guesswork out of WiFi security. An intrusion detection system can detect and help prevent unwanted network intrusions.

Monitor devices that connect to the network

Use remote monitoring to monitor devices that connect to the network to ensure only permitted devices have joined the network. With remote monitoring, trusted family members can help review network traffic and maintain a more secure connection. Maintaining home WiFi security can be a time-consuming task and can be especially challenging for older adults. No security product can provide absolute protection from all potential security issues, but an always-on security perimeter helps protect against new and known cyber-threats. HomePass can help you do exactly that.

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