GCU hosts 2018 Cyber Security Christmas Lectures

14 December 2018

Digital security experts warned more than 1000 Glasgow teenagers about the dangers of logging-on to public Wi-Fi in coffee shops and shopping centres.

Hackers can steal sensitive passwords, data and information by tricking customers to access a fake Wi-Fi network set up to look legitimate.

The warning came as school pupils from across the city attended the 2018 Cyber Security Christmas Lectures at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The fun and interactive lectures are designed to inspire young people to consider a career in cybersecurity and have the backing of Police Scotland, Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, SQA, Young Scot, Scottish Enterprise, and Education Scotland.

Riccardo Lazzarini, lecturer in Cyber Security and Networks at GCU, hosted a session outlining the pitfalls of using public Wi-Fi.

He said: "If you connect to an unencrypted network, anyone can view the traffic.

"It could be a rogue connection, set up by hackers to look like the coffee shop or business you are visiting, so they can steal sensitive information, data and passwords.

"Our advice is that if you are in any doubt at all, ask the staff behind the counter which Wi-Fi network is the legitimate one.

"We will be making the pupils aware about the insecurities of using social networks, banking and email, and any service with sensitive passwords on a public network."

The GCU lectures are part of a six-date Scottish tour, which includes Stornoway, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Edinburgh.

Aimed at encouraging ages 12-18 to consider a career in cyber security, the lectures take the format of two hours of interactive presentations on a wide range of security topics.

More than 3300 school pupils from across Scotland will attend the sessions in the run-up to Christmas.

Glasgow Caledonian has been rapidly expanding its cyber security courses to meet demand and is currently training almost 400 students. Dr Martin Beaton, Cyber Security Cluster Co-ordinator for Scotland, added: "The cyber security sector is suffering from a chronic shortage of skilled professionals, which is where our lectures come in.

"The lectures play an extremely important role in encouraging the future generation to develop a career in an industry where there is a growing skills-gap and demand is set to continue to grow."