OREANDA-NEWS. Kaspersky Lab today released the company’s latest research with B2B International which may raise concerns about the safety of internet users over 55 years old. The findings of the research, in a report entitled: “Older and Wiser? A look at the Threats Faced by Over-55s Online,” demonstrates that this age group is behaving insecurely online and often becomes the victim of fraud.

The survey questioned 12,546 internet users across the globe and the results suggest that the older generation is actually a very attractive target for cybercriminals. When they are online, many over-55s shop, bank and communicate with loved ones without effectively protecting themselves, and the things that are most important to them, from cybercriminals.

Despite the fact that this age group is more likely to install security software on their computers, they are less likely to protect their mobile devices or amend their behavior online to stay safe. For example, they use high privacy settings on social media and in their internet browser less than other age groups (30 percent vs. 38 percent). They are also unlikely to use the security functions that come with their devices (such as ‘find my device’) or VPN – 28 percent and 10 percent respectively compared to 42 percent and 16 percent respectively of users across all ages.

The older generation is using the internet for many aspects of their lives – increasing their vulnerability to cybercriminals if they continue to go online without taking security precautions. They are using the internet to communicate with others – 94 percent of consumers over 55 years old use email regularly. They are also going online to complete day-to-day tasks. This age group is more likely than others to conduct financial transactions over the internet, with 90 percent claiming to shop and bank online (compared to an average 84 percent of users across all age groups).

Yet despite all of this, nearly half of those over 55 years old (49 percent) worry about their vulnerability when purchasing products online and the vast majority (86 percent) do not believe they are a target for cybercriminals. Worryingly, four in ten (40 percent) have put themselves at risk by sharing financial details in the public domain (compared with 15 percent across all age groups).

The lack of security awareness is causing this generation to be victimized by cybercriminals. According to the report, 20 percent of internet users overall have older relatives that have encountered malicious software, and 14 percent have older relatives that have fallen for fake prize draws online. In addition, 13 percent have older relatives that have shared too much personal information about themselves online and 12 percent have older relatives that have become the victim of an online scam, seen inappropriate/explicit content, or communicated with dangerous strangers online.

“On the one hand, it’s great to see that so many over-55s are using the internet to shop, bank and stay connected with loved ones,” said Andrei Mochola, head of consumer business at Kaspersky Lab. “The report shows clearly that this generation is embracing a connected life, and all of the opportunities that come with it. On the other hand, however, it’s clear that the over-55s are not doing enough to protect themselves properly. Worryingly, they don’t even believe they are a target for cybercriminals, but they are putting themselves in danger time and again. At Kaspersky Lab, we are urging older internet users to become more aware of the dangers they face online, and to act in a more cyber-savvy manner. We are also encouraging younger internet users to help their older relatives and friends to better protect themselves from the very real threats posed by cybercriminals. Being vigilant online, as well as installing reliable security solutions and ensuring high privacy settings on all devices used to access the internet, will ensure a happy and healthy connected life.”

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them.