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Passwords for everything: how to help the elders of the family and the importance of having a 'master key'


Computer experts agree that the keys "are a headache." And in pandemic they are used more and more. How to create strong passwords to make older people feel more secure.

Javier Firpo

03/03/2021 6:01 AM

  • Clarí

  • Society

Updated 03/03/2021 6:01 AM

"We live in a complex world in which

to access comfort we need passwords for everything

. From to withdraw money, to enter our work, or want to watch a movie on Netflix, listen to music on Spotify or even to buy a ticket to through Alternativa Teatral. Everything requires a password, which

in many cases discourages people

from wanting to do the chosen activity, especially older adults, "says Diana Litvinoff, a psychologist who knows virtual ties and cyber issues.

Passwords are a headache for adults, mediums and children, but the

older ones are the ones who suffer the most

"because they are the ones who have the least contact with reality, they are known to be more vulnerable due to the lack of knowledge, the loss of memory and

a more precarious handling of new technologies

, with which they are not familiar. Knowing this, however, they are the most organized when it comes to

taking note of the ten passwords in a notebook

, which they take care of like a treasure But is this precaution enough to avoid falling into the dangers of poachers? "Asks Litvinoff.

For Denise Giusto Bilic, a security researcher, it is not safe to handle writing down the password on a sheet of paper.

"As a professional,

I could not recommend that form of safeguard

because that notebook can be taken to a financial institution, it can be shown to an employee or unknown person, with the risks that this implies, or directly lost. 

Although it is unsafe, I understand that it is a a method widely used by the vast majority

of older adults ".

Older adults suffer the most from password storage.

Almost everyone writes them down on an agenda that they "take care of like a treasure."

What to do then?

"The approach of the elderly in relation to technology is always important. If it is

a reluctant person

, who does not know how to download an application on his cell phone to store the keys, a task that is simple, then

the most convenient thing is to accompany

that person elderly person

patiently explaining

how to do it and about the risks that having the passwords written down ... and losing them could entail! I am one of those who prefers to help with the procedure and

not know that there is a sheet full of passwords stored in a drawer

. Losing them could be excruciating. "

For Giusto Bilic, the world of passwords is increasingly finicky and artisan.

"A good password

must be robust, with no less than twelve characters, alternating letters, numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase

. Each password must be like that, they do not have to be repeated or similar. And if that were not enough, it is convenient have activated the second factor of authentication, an extra security measure that frequently requires a code obtained from an application, or an SMS message ", he underlines

The specialist believes that "

passwords have become something both annoying and essential throughout life

, so it is very important that they are stored in what is called a password manager, an application that is a database which saves all the keys and protects our privacy from cybercriminals. It is important to have that manager that is accessed with

a master password, which will be the most important of all

, because through it the others will be entered ".

Giusto Bilic, finally, makes known the importance of

"not reprimanding or mistreating the elderly

 because, in that case, they will not trust the person, they will not share their doubts and they will be more prone to making mistakes, that is why I insist on supporting, explaining and be patient, because it

is understandable that other generations do not understand how homebanking works

, the call by whatsapp or do not distinguish a misleading link in an email that announces that you won the lottery and is asking for all your personal data ".

Specialists emphasize the importance for older adults to lose their fear of technology Photo: Shutterstock.

Maximiliano Méndez, chief of Information Technology Special Investigations of the City Police, is also convinced that "the

best thing to do for

older adults

is to accompany them to try to make them change their habit

, almost an impossible mission," he smiles. At a time when the technology that we have today did not exist, they were raised differently, they grew up with other tools and today they are at a crossroads where they must

run after technology



Méndez gives the example of his mother, 70, who "like

90 percent of people her age, have all their passwords and passwords

saved on a piece of paper. Why? Because they are not familiar with a technology that allows you to store them. I am talking about an application that you can enter by simply touching the screen with a finger. But no, this is almost unattainable for the elderly, so they

repeat the passwords with the birthday of the granddaughter or son in all their platforms

, which makes them extremely vulnerable. It is very common in that age range. "

Also deputy commissioner, Méndez recalls the case of the hacking of Patricia Bullrich's twitter (in 2017), "because she

repeated her password on different platforms

, which in the case of an official her chances of being violated were greater. What happened with Bullrich is not something sporadic, on the contrary, that is why it is essential to accompany the elderly, insisting on the risks of violation, and

emphasizing the creation of different strong and secure passwords


"It is difficult to change the habits of older people, almost an impossible mission, so the best thing is to help them, be patient with them and not humiliate them," the specialists agree.

How to create strong and secure passwords?

"First, it is key to create

passwords from the same device

, never enable homebanking, for example, from a foreign computer, and try to link your own computer and cell phone to validate the passwords," warns Méndez.

"Ideally, an older person would file their keys in a password manager and forget their notebook, but it

is almost impossible to explain how to download that application because it is against their nature

, with few exceptions."

As Giusto Bilic said, Méndez also ends up being his mother's password manager, "something that gives me more peace of mind than a notebook well kept in a drawer. For me it is easier to carry that task but to simplify my mother's life, for

her to resort to those keys with the risks of loss, theft or fraud.

I do not trust in any way


although by common sense I understand that this is how it works for them, it

is a losing fight to

try to change the habits of an older person ".

How do you combat that stubbornness, then?

"It's simple: with prevention

. Remind him over and over again that no bank is going to call to ask for the username or password. That no supermarket is going to contact you to congratulate you because you won two monsters full of merchandise. That no WhatsApp chain is true nor is it going to reward you by clicking on a link. Nor is it deceptive emails requesting confidential information. As educating about technology is almost impossible, it

is easier to prevent than to teach

. "

Older adults should think about generating strong passwords and "avoiding the typical ones for grandchildren's birthdays, easily identifiable."

An expert in cyber incidents, Lucas Paus is a defender of

"strong and long passwords, the ones that are difficult to guess but easy to remember

. How? Have a different password for each service, applying

the title of a movie or a song, followed by the name of the platform

being used, for example 'Seminareenfacebook', 'Seminareeninstagram' and so on, adding some number and symbol ".

Paus recommends almost as a warning

not to fall "into typical passwords with dictionary words, such as amor1234, maradona1986

or a1b2c3d4, very chosen by older adults, who seek to pave the way, but can end in a headache.

Another classic password is 'Qwerty', which is the first five letters of the keyboard

, starting from the top, which must be disregarded. That is why I insist on finding a robust password and writing it down in a notebook, which is not ideal, but not bad for older people. It must be said that this age group

takes care of the notebook with the same eagerness that we take care of the cell phone


A professional in technological security, Paus knows how older people proceed, so he speaks with familiarity about the



"I know this from the veterans of my family and I know many older people who, in

addition to the passwords in those notebooks, write the address, the user and also the step by step

of how to overcome each obstacle, because we must not forget that they are not people native with technology and that every certain period of time they must change the passwords due to banking requirements, then the machete for them is essential ".

Paus has no doubt that it is the

"most lacking niche in terms of education and awareness

, which has not only problems with passwords but also a denial with other more complex and sophisticated factors such as


, which is when the perpetrator gains trust. of the victim and then deceives them by pretending to be a company or service. That is why

I am convinced that both society and the State must support the elderly

with more tools so that they are not orphaned by technological progress. The family must also have patience and dedicate time to him

without humiliating or making a fool of himself

so that he does not lose confidence in consulting ".

This pandemic uncovered that orphanage that the elderly suffers in terms of technology.


Seven out of ten people who attend the banks are older people

, precisely the segment that should be leaving the least, but the lack of knowledge and self-confidence to do the same operation but from home, forces them to have to leave ... And there it is

the banks that should be more aware of the most fragile clients

. "


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Source: clarin

All life articles on 2021-03-03

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