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Online Safety During COVID-19: What Older Adults Need to Know

The pandemic has dramatically exacerbated the risks that older adults encounter online. Faced with the prospect of needing to socially distance long-term, sequestered elders have begun reaching out to friends and family through social media, video chatting and other digital means of connection.

But as older adults’ tech reliance rises, so too does their potential for risk. The number of cyberattacks has sharply increased over the last several months. In fact, the FBI recently reported that the number of complaints about cyberattacks that they have received often tops 4,000 per day — a 400 percent increase from the numbers recorded in 2019. Many of these attacks have preyed on victims’ pandemic fears to trick them into compromising their digital security; Microsoft estimates that between 20,000 and 30,000 of these “themed attacks” took place daily during April and May.

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