I’m Doing the Best I Can.”: Understanding Technology Literate Older Adults’ Account Management Strategies

Melvin Abraham, Michael Crabb, Saša Radomirović

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)
199 Downloads (Pure)


Older adults are becoming more technologically proficient and use the internet to participate actively in society. However, current best security practices can be seen as unusable by this population group as these practices do not consider the needs of an older adult.

Aim: We aim to develop a better understanding of digitally literate, older adults’ online account management strategies and the reasons leading to their adoption.

Method: We carry out two user studies (n=7, n=5). The first of these gathered information on older adults’ account ecosystems and their current online security practice. In the second, we presented security advice to the same group of older adults facilitated by a bespoke web application. We used this to learn more about the reasons behind older adults’ security practices by allowing them to reflect on the reported security vulnerabilities in account ecosystems.

Results: Our participants are aware of some online security practices, such as not to reuse passwords. Lack of trust in their own memory is a critical factor in their password management and device access control strategies. All consider finance-related accounts as their most important accounts, but few identified the secondary accounts (e.g. emails for account recovery) or devices that provide access to these as very important.

Conclusions: Older adults make a conscious choice to implement specific practices based on their understanding of security, their trust in their own abilities and third-parties, and the usability of a given security practice. While they are well-aware of some best security practices, their choices will be different if the best security practice does not work in their personal context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th International Workshop in Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust
EditorsSimon Parkin, Luca Vigano
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9783031101823
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2021
Event11th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security - Darmstadt, Germany
Duration: 8 Oct 2021 → …


Conference11th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security
Period8/10/21 → …
Internet address


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