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FBI Warns Travelers to Beware Attacks Via Hotel Wi-Fi

Russell W. Gilmore, CISSP, CISM, EnCE Corporate Compliance, Fraud, Intellectual Property, Security Policy and Procedure Development, Theft, Theft, Embezzlement, and Fraud


business laptop

In today’s economic environment, all companies are looking for opportunities to increase their customer base and grow their market share. Technology and the effective use of technology is critical to all businesses, from the small “mom & pop” to the large Fortune 100 firm doing business around the globe. As Americans we love technology and can’t get enough of it.

What is your business doing to protect the technology that contains the intellectual property that is your economic advantage?

We love the flexibility, ease of use, and ability to stay connected 24/7, but do we understand the trade-off? Security of your company’s economic advantage relies on awareness, training, policies and procedures, and physical security measures. Too often companies learn the hard way that electronic security alone does not protect their valuable assets. Do not wait until it is too late; protect your critical assets with awareness campaigns, training, policies and procedures, and physical security. What do you have to lose?

In addition to the article below, the Defense Security Service, a DoD agency, has developed a brochure that focuses on the vulnerabilities of Foreign Travel.


FBI warns travelers to beware attacks via hotel Wi-Fi

By Stewart Mitchell

Hackers are targeting foreigners’ laptops using hotel Wi-Fi, the Internet Crime Complaint Centre and FBI have warned.

According to an intelligence note from IC3, the malware is spread via pop-up windows during login, with the code download disguised as a legitimate software update.

“Analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while establishing an internet connection in their hotel rooms,” the IC3 said.

Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack

“In these instances … the pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop.”

The officials didn’t explain what the malware actually did, but the FBI warned that anyone traveling overseas, and particularly on governmental or private-sector business, should take extra care when abroad and plan a pre-departure update schedule.

“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 note said.

“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 website if updates are necessary while abroad.”


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Protus3 specializes in security system design, security consulting, corporate investigations and other investigative services. Partner with Protus3 and we will examine each situation to identify threats and develop solutions for your best outcome.

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