During the pandemic, Canadians are spending more time online than ever before. As per the Canadian Internet Use Survey, which was conducted from November 2020 to March 2021, the survey found that 75% of Canadians 15 years of age and older engaged in internet-related activities more often since the onset of the pandemic. More than half (54%) of Canadian senior citizens reported an increase in internet-related activities. You can view more details regarding Canadian internet usage by clicking here: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00027-eng.htm
While it’s great to see that older adults are taking advantage of the unlimited resources that can be found on the internet, it’s never been more important to stay cyber secure. Instances of cyber criminals disguising as healthcare organizations or the Canadian Government have been increasing – and in many cases, they’re targeting seniors.
Some steps to ensure your protection are: practice safe passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication and identifying phishing scams. Click the following link to get more information with how to protect yourself with simple steps: https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/resources/seniors-guide-staying-cyber- safe-during-covid-19
At TechServeTO, we connect digital-native volunteers with older adults who just need a little bit of technical help to improve their everyday lives. If you require tech assistance, free of charge, please call 1-888-418-4771 or visit us at www.techserveto.com. In addition, if you or anybody else would be interested in volunteering, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Jeff Cruz, volunteer at TechServe, stated: “I started volunteering at TechServe back in July 2021. During the pandemic, I had time to reflect and I wanted to give back to community and help others. In particular, I wanted to help older adults and that’s where I came across TechServe. Whether it be helping older adults with navigating their smartphones/tablets or helping them sign up to social media platforms, there’s a sense of satisfaction when I assist older adults with their tech needs. I understand that technology can be intimidating for some, but the TechServe volunteer platform allows me to assist older adults get the best out of their technological needs. Let’s face it, technology is used by virtually every business and helps connect people; being a part of TechServe, I want to ensure that older adults take advantage of the resources that today’s tech offers and I want to show that tech can be quite simple and is not as intimidating as it seems at first”.
Encrypt your internet connection with a VPN to protect your privacy and secure your connection. Prevent your ISP or third-party snoops from viewing your online communications, location, and browsing activity.
Bypass Censorship and Restrictive Networks
Escape government censorship and Internet restrictions. Whether you live in China, Russia, Turkey, or the Middle East, restore your access to a free and open Internet with a trusted VPN.
Stream Without Limitations
Improve your speed, access geo-blocked content, and stay secure while streaming online. Achieve the best streaming experience from any location with a VPN.
Defeat Data Retention
Protect yourself against data retention laws. Encrypt your Internet connection to protect your privacy and to stop governments from spying on you.
Source: “Protect Your Privacy Online – Benefits of a VPN.” VyprVPN, www.vyprvpn.com/why-vpn.
Below is a PDF document outlining a few tips on how to create a strong password. It is in the format of a one page document that you are able to download and save, or download and print so that it can be referenced at any time.
We compiled some need to know tips for when you are using your internet browser. Hope this helps while you are navigating this vast space!
1.Be wary of suspicious links or websites!
Try to avoid suspicious websites! When accessing a website, look out for a padlock symbol in the address bar or it may say “SECURE” in the address bar itself. These mean that the website has been validated as safe. If you click this word or symbol the website will provide you with a description of its settings as depicted in the image. In addition, when browsing on the internet, ads or popup windows may appear. Avoid clicking on these as they may contain malware that can damage your device and risk exposing any personal information on your device.
2.Is your computer running slow? Try deleting your cookies, cache, and browsing history
If your internet browser is running a little slower than normal this tip may help! Just like the cookies we eat, our online cookies (and cache and browsing history) make us and our browsers a little sluggish! When using Google Chrome as your web browser, click on the upright ellipses, which often lie to the right of the address bar, hover your mouse over “More tools”, and then click “Clear browsing data”. This will open a new tab in your browser that brings you to the browser’s “Settings” page and the second image will appear asking you to select what you would like to clear. You can select to clear all data, or specific items like just your computer’s cookies and/or cache. You can also adjust the time range that you are deleting to ensure you remove all stored, unnecessary data from your browser.
3.Access your most frequented websites faster
If you find yourself always looking at the same websites or want easier and faster access to specific websites like Facebook, your email, a clothing or grocery store, or your online banking you should bookmark it. There are 2 ways to do this. The first, and easiest way, is by clicking the star symbol that is on the right-hand side of the address bar. A pop-up will appear asking what you would like this bookmark to be titled and where you would like it to be located (the folder). Give it an easy to identify title and save it to your “Bookmarks Bar” this will appear underneath your address bar every time you open your internet browser.
Another way to do this is by clicking on the upright ellipses, then hovering your mouse clicker over “Bookmarks”. The pop-up that appears will give you the option to “Bookmark this tab…”, click this and give the bookmark a name and location for you to find it like in the first image.
Also make sure the “Show bookmarks bar” is check marked to ensure you see your bookmarks under the address bar. You can only add a select number of bookmarks to the bookmark bar, however, the remaining bookmarks can be found by clicking on the upright ellipses, hover over “Bookmarks” and then select the bookmark you wish to access, illustrated under the vertical arrow in the photo.
4.Changing your home screen search engine
When you want to browse the internet, it first opens to a home screen with a specific search engine (i.e. Google Chrome, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.). This opening screen can be changed to one of your choosing by clicking on the upright ellipses, then selecting “Settings”. A new tab will open in your browser. Select “Search engine” on the left-hand-side menu, then change the search engine to one of your choosing in the drop down-list titled “Search engine used in the address bar”. This search engine can be Google, Bing, Facebook, The Weather Network, or any website of your choosing. You can add a website by selecting “Manage search engine”, then select “Add” and add the address of your preferred website.
5.Have you mistakenly closed a window you didn’t mean to close?
Don’t worry! Closing the wrong tab or window when browsing the internet happens to all of us! There is an easy way to get back your website (or multiple websites) by clicking on the vertical ellipses which are found to the right of the address bar. Hover your mouse over “History” and then you can select what recently closed page, or pages you would like to reopen. If you had multiple tabs open on the internet window that you closed, you can open all of them at once by selecting the option that shows multiple tabs. For example, in the image shown, you would select “3 tabs” to reopen all of the closed tabs at once.
6.Be careful about what you download!
Never download software or file from any website that you are not familiar with or haven’t researched. Sometimes these third-party websites can install malware onto your device and hack into your information. Instead, ensure that you are downloading an app, software or file directly from the source it claims to originate from. For example, if you are downloading a software for your Apple laptop, make sure you are downloading it from the Apple website. If you are downloading an app like Zoom, make sure it is directly from the Zoom website, not another link and website you find while browsing the internet.
7.Adjust the privacy and security settings onyour device
To help limit the amount of information websites can collect about you while you are browsing the internet, you can modify your privacy and security settings. Click on the upright ellipses and click “Settings”. Then select “Privacy and Security” from the left menu bar and then “Site Settings”. In this new window that opens you can make adjustments to what permissions you give websites access to. You can change the settings of your location, camera, and microphone so that websites must ask permission before using these device features. This helps limit risk and prevent the possibility of these websites accessing these features without your knowledge.
8.Be careful with email links!
Always be suspicious if you ever receive an email containing a link in it. If possible, ask the sender to verify that they actually sent the email and if it is a legitimate and safe link. If you are unable to ask the sender and you were not expecting to receive the link for a specific purpose, do not click and open the link! These types of emails are referred to as “phishing emails”. They are meant to trick people into clicking a supposed “deal” or “winning” that the link claims you have received, and instead they install a virus or type of malware onto your device. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid clicking links in emails or while browsing the internet that are unfamiliar to you and seem too good to be true.