Malware Installed On Travelers’ Laptops Through Software Updates On Hotel Internet Connections

My daughter sent me a notice from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) that there have been instances of travelers’ laptops being infected with malicious software while using hotel Internet connections. In these instances, the traveler was attempting to setup the hotel room Internet connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely-used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.

The FBI recommends that when you travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products on your hotel Internet connection.  You can check the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor, but it might be easier for you to just perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling.  If updates are necessary while you are abroad, download software updates directly from the software vendor’s Web site.

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 The IC3’s complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns.

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