The majority of new PCs sold this Christmas will be laptops and netbooks. These will probably be connected to a home Wi-Fi network, which brings its own dangers. For a good overview of how to sort out your home Wi-Fi security, see the guide produced by Get Safe Online.
But laptops aren’t going to stay safely at home. They’re going to be taken down to the local café, which offers free Wi-Fi access with every cup of coffee. However good the lattes and muffins might be, though, you need to be confident that the café owners are doing a good job of keeping their network safe.
Tablets and other mobile devices are particularly vulnerable. An iPad or other Apple device is arguably safer from malware, but social-manipulation scams and DNS attacks don’t mind what platform you’re using. Mac malware is on the rise, too, as Apple’s market share increases.
Scammers target Wi-Fi networks at airports, train stations, pubs and cafés. Anyone logging into such networks must be especially vigilant that they select the correct network – don’t allow your PC to automatically find and log into a network.
This is an easy mistake to make. You’re in a hurry and need to send a quick email or confirm an appointment before jumping on a train or plane. It seems so harmless to quickly log into an unsecured wireless network, and you can’t remember whether the station offers free Wi-Fi anyway.
Show new users how to scan and identify available wireless networks and to carefully check which one they’re joining.