Senior citizens educated on safe cybersecurity practices

NTT Ltd. has announced its collaboration with Lions Befrienders (LB) to educate senior citizens on adopting safe cybersecurity practices. The security division of NTT in Singapore is forming a team of volunteers to contribute to the online safety of seniors in Singapore. 

In its first wave, the team aims to educate over 7600 seniors currently associated with LB about cybersecurity, fraud and targeted scams.

The top ten types of scams that constituted 68.1% of the total scams in 2020, are e-commerce scams, social media impersonation scams, loan scams and banking related phishing scams.

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These also saw a sharp rise of 78.5% when compared to 2019, and the trend of increased cyberattacks continues in our new normal lifestyle. While good cyber hygiene practices are essential for everyone, seniors are more likely to be late adopters of technology and may need more help when it comes to adopting safe cybersecurity practices.

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) along with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has recently launched the SG Cyber Safe Seniors program (along with ‘Better Cyber Safe Than Sorry’ campaign), and NTT’s collaboration with LB is an effort to contribute to this cause.

As part of the initiative, the consulting team from NTT’s security division will offer regular virtual awareness webinars and onsite classroom methodology for LB volunteers and selected groups of LB seniors. These will cover advice about the current cyber threat landscape, provide best practices for safe online security and explain cybersecurity do’s and don’ts for seniors.

With the ‘train the trainer’ approach, the initiative hopes to achieve higher levels of cybersecurity awareness amongst seniors with help from LB volunteers.

Commenting on the need of this initiative, Ashish Thapar, VP Consulting from NTT’s security division says, “Cyber threats and scams continue to become more sophisticated, and while nine in 10 seniors use smartphones, some still find it challenging to go digital safely.

“They are uncertain about the necessary precautions to take while using the internet, leaving them vulnerable to online scams and phishing attempts by cyber criminals. In the first half of 2020 alone, victims in Singapore lost SGD 82 million, and seniors are the most vulnerable set among them.

“Singapore is increasing its efforts to drive awareness and adoption of cybersecurity practices through various channels and campaigns,” attests Neville Burdan, Senior Director from NTT’s security division.

Rapid digitalization is disrupting business operations, altering industry structures and redefining rules globally. Therefore, it is important for seniors in a ‘Smart Nation’, such as Singapore, to be able to adapt and embrace digitalization. There is a clear need to learn how to use technology with confidence and safety.”

Anthony Tay, Chairman, Lions Befrienders says, “Seniors are prime fraud targets because older people tend to be trusting and polite to others while being new to technology. With NTT’s expertise imparting the right knowledge to them and to all the volunteers, we want to help our seniors go online confidently. Our hope is that this initiative will catalyze greater societal awareness and action around cybersecurity among at-risk seniors and other fellow Singaporeans.”