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Peril of travel Wi-fi

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The urge to go online the moment they  reach foreign soil sees a high proportion of people connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, putting their personal data at risk, according to a study by Kaspersky Lab.

The research, which polled 11,850 people from across the world, found that cybercrime is commonplace when abroad. However, as ever more essential travel information – from maps and hotel confirmations to check-in details and boarding passes – is stored online, international travelers often have no choice but to connect upon arrival. Many will be keen to use Wi-Fi rather than risk incurring roaming charges, despite the fact that doing so will expose them to risk.

On leaving the airport, the research showed that over half of South African travelers (55%) are already online, with most (81%) connecting in order to let family and loved ones know they have arrived safely, and 38% saying they connect mainly to download travel information. Pressure from work (42%) is also a strong factor, as is the desire to get up to speed on social media (38%). 42% of South African travelers state, simply, that it is instinctive to go online as soon as possible.

We are so used to being connected when we are at home, that when we are abroad, we hardly give a second thought to where we connect, how we connect or who might be ‘listening’ in. 77% connect to unsecured, free-to-use public access Wi-Fi networks in airport terminals, hotels, cafes or restaurants.

But away from home, and trusted networks, the lack of regard for network security plays into the hands of cybercriminals. 17% of South African travelers have been a victim of cybercrime while away from home, compared to 8% of those who have faced real-life crime.

This is not surprising if you consider the fact that our digital habits barely change while we’re abroad, even though we may be more exposed to unsecure public networks. More than  half of the survey’s respondents say they bank (72%) and shop (63%) online over Wi-Fi while abroad.

Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “I travel a lot. My business schedule is all about meetings, conferences and negotiations right around the globe. More than 100 flights a year is the norm for me. And of course I use various public Wi-Fi networks to access the Internet all the time. The first thing I do after connecting to the net is connect to a VPN (in my case the Kaspersky Lab VPN), and that is pretty much the best precaution I’d recommend anyone. That and, of course, keeping all your software – including your security suite – up-to-date, and not trusting anyone on the Internet.”

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Smash hits the Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. delivers what the fans wanted in the latest “Ultimate” instalment, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest addition to the popular Nintendo Smash series, has landed on the Nintendo Switch with a bang, selling 5-million copies in the first week of its release. The game has been long-anticipated since the console’s release, as many fans consider iy to be a Nintendo staple. And the wait was well worth it.

It features 74 playable fighters, 108 stages, almost 1300 Spirit characters to collect while playing, and a single-player Adventure mode that took about three days (or 28 hours) of gameplay to complete. The game offers far more gameplay than its predecessors, making it the Smash game that gives its players the best bang for their buck.

For those new to the game, the goal is to fight opponents and build up their damage score (draining their health) to knock them off the stage eventually. This makes the game seem chaotic, as many players jump around the platforms as if they were on quicksand, in order to avoid being hit by the other players.

It also services two kinds of players: the competitive and the casual.

Competitive players can be matched on the online service by skill ranking to enjoy playing with similarly high-skilled opponents. This is especially important in e-sports training for the game, and for players wanting to master combos against other human players. The casual gamer is also catered for, with eight-player chaos and button-mashing to see who comes out luckiest. This segment is also important for those wanting to learn how to play.

Training mode is also a place to go for those learning to play. It offers “CPU” players that are graded by intensity to train as a single player to learn a character’s moves, combos and general fighting style. More challenging CPU players can also be used by competitive players to train when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available.

Direct Play features in this game, allowing two players with two Switch consoles to play against each other over a direct connection – no Wi-Fi needed. This is especially useful to those who want to have a social gaming element on the go, similar to that of the cable connector of the Gameboy.

Click here to read Bryan Turner review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek have nine Funko Fortnite figurines to give away.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers (9 figurines in total). To enter, first click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears. Then, follow Gadget on Twitter.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite) and mention @GadgetZA to be considered valid.

Click here to select the Funko Fortnite character you want to tweet.

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