My Dad’s older and while he’s good on the computer, he’s not always very attentive. So I worry about him being scammed by phishing attacks and giving up his Gmail or Google password, which would be a complete disaster. What can I do to help minimize the risk?
I think that’s a legitimate concern. My Dad was pretty computer savvy but every time I’d visit him there’d be malware installed on the system and, typically a virus or two looming. Even with education, even with him insisting he never visited strange Web sites and didn’t open email from strangers. Even with paid anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on his Win7 PC. It’s a dangerous world out there!
There are two things you can do to try and minimize the risk of your Dad being scammed by a phishing attack, though I just see that as a subset of the greater number of risks in the online world: set up two-step verification for his account (which protects him if his password is stolen) and get him to use Google Chrome then install the new Password Alert extension.
For two-step verification he’ll need a cellphone but I bet he already has one. You can read my article for details on How to Set Up Two-Step Security Verification for Gmail.
Great. Now, Password Alert.
This is an extension that you’ll need to install from the Chrome Extension library, so you can take the shortcut and just click here: Google Password Alert Extension, or I can step you through the process…
To start, you’ll need to be sitting at your Dad’s computer and have Google Chrome running. Now go to the link above or search the extensions library for “password alert”. You’ll find this in the results:
Click on the blue “+ FREE” button to make your life easier if you’re ready to just proceed.
It’ll pop up a confirmation window near the top of the browser:
Click “Add” if you are ready to proceed, or “Cancel” and read more about what it does and how it works.
When you do proceed, that’s about all you need to do. It’s small and installs almost immediately.
You’ll know because you’ll see this:
That’s all there is. Now if your Dad ends up on a Web page that looks legit but is inappropriately prompting for his Google account password, it’ll pop up a warning:
That should help him at least know when something bad’s happened.
Still, education. And eternal vigilance. Who knew that was the future of the Internet?