Travel Alert: FBI Warns of Malware Via Hotel Wi-Fi

By Paul Riegler on 10 May 2012
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning to travelers that their laptops are at risk of being infected with malicious software when traveling abroad.

The malware is said to be delivered via pop-up messages telling the user to “update” one of several widely-used pieces of software.  The window is designed to look like a routine update for legitimate software products that frequently require such updating.  Clicking the pop-up starts a download that installs the malware.

The safest course of action is simply to ignore any pop-up windows that offer a software update.  Otherwise, the traveler can check the author or digital certificate to see if it is legitimate.  Travelers can also go directly to a software company’s website to check if updates are actually necessary.

The FBI requests that anyone who has received a pop-up message of this nature report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

Travelers are urged to use caution when accessing the Internet via public networks, in particular at hotels and other venues frequented by transient users.  A recent report in Frequent Business Traveler, Risky Business Travel: How to Protect Your Trade Secrets and Information Overseas, examined numerous risks that could potentially expose confidential and personal information.


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