Listen to this article
Converged Communication Solutions has given silver surfers across the north-east the tools to ride out the increasing waves of cyber-attacks as the country marks Cyber Scotland Week.
The IT, cyber security and internet service provider, which has offices in Aberdeen and Inverness, has hosted a series of events this week to help people, particularly those over 50, stay safe online.
Cyber Scotland Week runs from Monday, 28 February until Sunday, 06 March and aims to make businesses, charities, organisations and individuals more cyber aware and resilient.
Converged joined forces with Police Scotland’s Cybercrime Harm Prevention Team to deliver a cyber security training session to staff at the charity Age Scotland. The charity works to improve the lives of people over the age of 50 and the knowledge that staff gained from the seminar will enable them to better advise members on how best to stay safe online and prevent themselves from becoming victims of cybercrime.
The training seminar was led by Robbie Ross, chief security officer with Converged, and Gordy MacDonald, cybercrime protection, incident support and training officer at Police Scotland. Age Scotland staff learnt what cyber-attacks look like and the type of information that cyber criminals are seeking to gain, the ways in which individuals can better protect themselves online and organisations from which additional help and support can be sought.
In 2020, research by Age UK revealed that between April 2018 and March 2019 adults over 55 years old in England lost over £4million through cybercrime. While in north-east Scotland it was reported in 2018 that residents, many of which were elderly, were conned out of £1.2million in just three weeks through a vishing scam. This is where criminals telephone victims and persuade them to transfer money.
The scale of cybercrime amongst the older population is thought to be greater than official figures indicate. It is believed that some elderly people are too embarrassed to tell family members and friends that they have been subject to an online fraud, so the fraud goes unreported.
In a separate event, Converged gave a cyber security presentation to women from branches of the SWI and Trefoil Guild in Aberdeenshire, many of whom have elderly family and friends. The session illustrated how to stay safe online, explored the most common types of cyber-attacks and how to report them. Remembering to apply software updates and backing up important data was also highlighted, while advice around creating passwords and what information people should not share on social media was given.
Robbie Ross, chief security officer, Converged Communication Solutions, said: “Although cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated, some criminals still use simple tactics to dupe people. Regardless of age, we all need to be fully aware of the different methods being used, but more importantly, know what they can do to best protect themselves and their families when online. This can be as simple as using robust passwords or passphrases.
“Cyber Scotland Week is an opportunity for us all to become more cyber aware and build our resilience against cyber-attacks in a growing digital world. A growing proportion of our elderly population are using the internet to stay in contact with family or to access online banking and pay bills, so it is vital they have the knowledge and tools to stay safe. We all need to stand together and support one another to ride out the continual waves of cyber-attacks.”