Scam of the day – August 16, 2017 – Hackers targeting hotel Wi-Fi

The security company Bitdefender has identified new tactics being used by a notorious hacking group known as DarkHotel to hack into the computers of hotel guests.  DarkHotel has been operating for about ten years now and until recently had been specifically targeting business travelers in order to gain access to their companies’ computers and the data contained therein. Recently , however, DarkHotel has expanded its targets to include political figures, as well.  DarkHotel has exploited vulnerabilities in hotel Wi-Fi to achieve its attacks.

A key element in the success of DarkHotel has been their successful use of spear phishing emails that have been used to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on links and downloading malware.

TIPS

Whether you are a high profile business person, a politician or a regular citizen, spear phishing is one of the biggest threats to your security and well being.  Spear phishing emails or text messages are personally crafted emails or text messages that have been created using information about you, your job, your interests and other aspects of your life to lure you into clicking on a link and downloading malware.  Most of the major data breaches as well as personal data breaches have been initiated through phishing so the lesson is clear.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you have absolutely confirmed that they are legitimate.

Scam of the day – November 28, 2014 – Hotel Wifi threat

A targeted threat against high level government and business leaders while staying in upscale hotels was exposed by security company Kaspersky Lab recently.  The attack starts with a breach of the particular hotel’s Wifi network and the installation of malware even before the targeted guest arrives at the hotel.  When the hotel guest connects to the hotel’s Wifi system by logging in using his last name and room number, the hackers are alerted and then send a pop-up alert regarding a necessary software update that needs to be clicked on and downloaded.   The pop-up looks legitimate.  In this particular group of targeted attacks, which Kaspersky has deemed “Darkhotel” the pop-up was for an update to Adobe Flash player, although it could be an update for any other program.  The pop-up of course is phony and when the unwary victim clicks on the link, he downloads malware that enables the hacker to steal information from the victim’s laptop or other device.  In this case, the information sought is for corporate espionage, but others using the same tactic could just as well use the technique to gather personal information for purposes of identity theft.

TIPS

You can never be sure of the security of Wifi whether it is at a coffee shop or a hotel.  A good option is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get an encrypted communication mode whenever you use Wifi.  It is important to be skeptical of any prompt to click on anything when you are on Wifi or anywhere else for that matter.  Don’t click on links in emails, text messages or pop-ups unless you have confirmed that they are legitimate.  In the case of software updates, it is a simple matter to check with the particular company at its website rather than click on a pop-up if you want to make sure that the update is legitimate.  Even if an update is being offered by the company, you are better off accessing it through their website rather than a pop-up which may be just a counterfeit pop-up sent to you by an identity thief.