Reason #8,645 to resist using open hotel Wi-Fi: You might be getting snooped on.
Russian cybersecurity researchers found that tech executives traveling across Asia may have had their computers infiltrated by password-sussing malware. No hotels or victims were specified. But the operation has been given the apropos spooky name “Darkhotel.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Thousands of people traveling mostly in Japan, as well as Taiwan, China and other countries, have been affected by the attacks, which are likely targeted at a specific individual and occur when the traveler connects to the hotel wireless or cable internet.” The attack works by asking users to install seemingly benign updates for software like Adobe Flash and Google’s Toolbar. In actuality they are malicious trojans used to steal further information.
If you absolutely must use hotel Wi-Fi, Kaspersky Labs recommends using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to encrypt your communication channels, and to regard all software updates—no matter how safe they appear to be—as suspicious.