This week, the FBI has issued a warning to those who travel abroad and connect to the Internet from hotel rooms. U.S. authorities have found travelers' laptops are getting infected when they are accessing the Web from a hotel connection.
According to an FBI statement, an increase of malware infections in the laptops of travelers has been detected through recent analysis.
The statement said:
In these instances, the traveler was attempting to set up the hotel room Internet connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.
As The Sydney Morning Herald points out, this is not limited to hotels, any public point of access can pose a threat, opening the virtual door for hackers.
The FBI and other authorities recommend exercising caution when traveling with a laptop or other device, and offers some tips, which included:
• Updating any software before traveling
• If a software update prompt occurs, verifying the author or digital certificate to see if it corresponds to the software vendor
• If an update needs to be done while on the road, users should visit the vendor's website directly to perform the download
While security issues are gaining more attention, not all businesses take it seriously. The Sydney Morning Herald pointed to a recent study that illuminated franchises, such as hotels, are a common target by cybercriminals.
The study uncovered, as Digital Journal reported in Mar. 2012, many businesses are lackadaisical when it comes to network passwords. For instance, it was found the most common password businesses use to secure their systems is "Password1."
Computing and being connected has evolved to become an important part of daily life, and while there are benefits, as with anything else, there are drawbacks.
Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages that comes with being connected by various devices is malware. If you're going to be connected, stay up to date on the threats and be aware of the potential risks, so you can combat them the best you can.
Individuals who suspect they've been targeted by this type of exploit, or any other kind of attack, are advised to immediately contact their local FBI office or report the attempt to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).