For Luke Robert Flinn from Warrnambool, Australia, staying safe online is second nature. The Victoria native is a veteran of the online world, working as a successful web developer for over two decades. He has built hundreds of websites and applications for clients from across Australia and overseas during his 20-plus-year career.
Now, he’s looking to give something back to his local community. With that, he’s spent the last four months teaching Warrnambool’s seniors how to stay safe on the web in his spare time. What follows is a closer look at just a trio of tips from the online expert, starting with keeping email browsers and other software updated.
Flinn’s first advice for seniors keen to stay safe online involves keeping software updated to the latest versions.
Since the beginning of 2023, he has shown dozens of seniors from his home city of Warrnambool how to do precisely that. He has so far granted free lessons at several of the city’s community centres. His advice has also been featured in some of the area’s more senior-focused local and neighbourhood newsletters.
Examples of software people should always keep updated to protect themselves online include browsers, email clients, and operating systems. Wherever possible, Flinn recommends turning on automatic updates. He recommends doing the same on laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets alike.
Next, Victoria-based Flinn turns to password strength. Seniors wishing to protect themselves online must keep their various accounts secure. From social media to online banking, each should have a unique password. Every password should utilise uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Of course, remembering these passwords can be tricky, whether someone is a senior or not, says Flinn. Accordingly, the veteran web developer suggests using a tool like Google Password Manager. With a password manager, users only have to remember a single login. The software handles the rest, including generating strong passwords like those outlined above.
Of course, up-to-date software and strong passwords are only part of staying safe online. That’s why Luke Robert Flinn has also been teaching his hometown of Warrnambool’s older citizens about the importance of being generally vigilant when using the web. ABC, says the expert – Always Be Cautious. With that, he recommends the following:
- Be wary of emails from unknown senders
- Be careful with posting personal information
- Only buy from SSL-enabled websites
- When in doubt, ask for advice
Flinn explains that emails from unknown senders could contain viruses or links to websites capable of stealing personal information. Meanwhile, it’s vital to protect any personal information shared on social media or other websites, says the expert. He advises only posting what a person would be happy for strangers to know – not just close friends and family.
Elsewhere, only buying from SSL-enabled websites is similarly crucial if seniors are to stay safe online. Where there’s doubt, Australia-based web developer Luke Robert Flinn from Warrnambool recommends asking for guidance from a friend or family member who’s more familiar or confident with the internet and online safety.