According to the FBI, hackers are targeting internet connections at hotels.
Hotel internet connections available to guests are usually not part of a secure network. WMBF News IT Director Brent Long says that if you're not careful, it can make your laptop vulnerable to viruses and infections.
Once a laptop is connected to the hotel's internet, a pop-up will appear to download a software update. If the user clicks to accept and install the update, malicious software is installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appears to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.
According to Long, once this malware is downloaded onto the user's computer, it gives hackers access to private information.
"These hackers can get your social security number, your address, your phone number, your family history. Also credit card account numbers, your bank account numbers, the works. They can steal your identity," explained Long.
There are ways users can protect themselves from becoming the next victim. According to Long, people who plan on connecting a laptop to a hotel's Internet should have reliable antivirus software installed. The antivirus software should be up to date, along with the laptop's operating system and other programs. All updates should be taken care of prior to traveling.
"Never do a software update or big downloads on a public Internet connection. You always want to run updates and install software or anything like that on a home network connection," added Long.
The FBI recommends anyone who believes they have been a target of this type of attack should immediately contact their local FBI office and promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov.
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