Grandma got run over by an email – senior citizens and computer security

It may be hard to believe, but people born at the start of the Baby Boomer generation are in their 70’s now, and many have spent much of their adult life in the pre-computer age.  Even if some of these seniors are comfortable using a home computer, basic security principles such as updating their stuff and password protecting their computer are things they just don’t do.  To make matters worse, I bet that most of us know someone, or have someone in our family, that has fallen victim to an online scam of some type or has gotten their computer thoroughly infected with malware.
So, what can we as hackers do to help this generation be more computer-savvy, more secure, and less likely to be taken advantage of?  It turns out that educating seniors in this area can be a challenge, and to do it effectively means learning a different set of presentation techniques.  

In this talk I will discuss some of the work I have done in this area, including how I approached conducting a series of educational talks for a group of senior citizens.  I will describe some of the unique challenges that working with this demographic poses, and share examples of how I structured, delivered, and followed up on the material.  I will also discuss some of the pitfalls and lessons learned I  experienced in doing this work.  This has been a fun and rewarding way to give back to the community, and I will share a few of the joys and benefits I have experienced doing this.  My goal in giving this talk is to generate some interest in this topic within the hacker community, stimulate some beneficial discussion, and help to equip and motivate others to reach out to the seniors in their area.

Russ Gritzo

Russ assembled his first computer on his Mom’s kitchen table in the mid 1970’s.  He still has that computer, along with a few that are actually useful.  As a product of the atomic age, Russ spent several decades doing Gamma Ray Spectrometry before moving into computer security.  Currently, Russ is a full time penetration tester supporting a department of the US Government.  When he is not peering at a computer screen he can often be found peering out the front window of a vintage airplane.