Training and Embedding Cybersecurity Guardians in Older Communities

James Nicholson, Benjamin Morrison, Matt Dixon, Jack Holt, Lynne Coventry, Jill McGlasson

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Older adults can struggle to access relevant community expertise when faced with new situations. One such situation is the number of cyberattacks they may face when interacting online. This paper reports on an initiative which recruited, trained, and supported older adults to become community cybersecurity educators (CyberGuardians), tasked with promoting cybersecurity best practice within their communities to prevent older adults falling victim to opportunistic cyberattacks. This initiative utilised an embedded peer-to-peer information dissemination strategy, rather than expert-to-citizen, facilitating the inclusion of individuals who would ordinarily be unlikely to seek cybersecurity information and thus may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. We report on ways the CyberGuardians used informal methods to create more aware communities, served as role models for behaviour change and indirectly improved their personal wellbeing. We discuss considerations for supporting CyberGuardians, including implications for sustainability and for replicating this model in other digital contexts, e.g., recognising misinformation or improving mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Dec 2020
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021) - Online, Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021)
Abbreviated titleCHI 2021
Internet address

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