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.
Be careful which WI-FI network you log into – not all are secure
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.