From the Security Experts

May 15, 2012

Malware Problems Continue to Grow through Hotel Internet Services

By Contributing Writer

Malware presents a growing threat through Hotel Internet Services. A recent post by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) states the FBI has issued an advisory to be aware of software updates popping up on the screen when users use the Internet connection in their hotel rooms. The FBI’s report shows that malware attacks are on the rise at hotels; malware that infects a computer can automatically install code to force the system to execute malicious code or a key logger, which records key-entered data: this allows malicious users to see and record the user's keystrokes when entering a password or even a credit card number.

The hotel Wi-Fi connections are vulnerable to malware, viruses, and other threats. What looks like legitimate software or request for update can actually hide malicious software, designed to exploit a computer or the user to gather sensitive information, if not their Web activities. A malware program can also be used to steal personal financial data or even credit card data if used while logged to the hotel Internet connection.

The FBI recommends users to be on the lookout of potential malware through pop-up windows on hotel connections; attackers are said to be targeting travelers abroad that are simply asked to update widely-used software products. One can also be exposed to malware simply by connecting to the Web or accessing e-mails.

Laptop users, as well as other mobile computer system users are asked to take meaningful action to protect themselves from pop-up ads that appear on the Websites one is viewing, because it may be a trick to get the computer operator into automatically downloading malware.

The most common way to avoid malware is to run an anti-malware program; or at a minimum, one should setup pop-up blockers and install a firewall. Alternatively, one could find using a content filtering program, for example, which can also be useful to provide a malware protection solution.

Beyond that, use standard security best practices for avoiding mobile malware: be aware of such threats that exist on mobile devices; remain vigilant about clicking on Web links; and be responsible enough to avoid pop ups and advertisements from being clicked.

Those that do believe they have been a target of this type of attack or were infected with malicious software should immediately report it to the IC3's Website at

Edited by Brooke Neuman