FBI: Beware of software updates on hotel connections

Cyber-criminals are using pop-up warnings on hotel connections to plant malware on computers.
Written by Ryan Naraine, Contributor

Road warriors beware: Cyber-criminals are using pop-up alerts on hotel Internet connections to trick computer users into downloading malware.

According to to a warning from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the pop-up lures are appearing while users are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.

"In these instances, the traveler was attempting to setup 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," the IC3 said.

The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products on their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling, and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor’s Web site if updates are necessary while abroad.

As I wrote in the 10 little things to secure your online presence article, computer users who log on to public networks should get into the habit of using a VPN to encrypt web sessions and keep private data out of the hands of hackers.

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