Hack­ers ex­ploit ho­tel Wi-Fi

RISKSA Magazine - - CR -

Poorly se­cured Wi-Fi net­works at ho­tels are en­abling cy­ber­crim­i­nals to steal guests’ pri­vate in­for­ma­tion, warns Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers (PwC). The se­cu­rity of guest in­for­ma­tion and op­er­a­tional tech­nol­ogy has emerged as a busi­ness risk for the ho­tel in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to PwC’s Hos­pi­tal­ity Out­look 2015-2019. “For busi­ness trav­ellers, ac­cess to fast and low­cost In­ter­net is a must have. But these Wi- Fi con­nec­tions are not al­ways se­cure. And that is a se­cu­rity gap that cy­ber crim­i­nals are mak­ing use of,” says Nikki Forster, hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try leader for PwC, South­ern Africa. PwC says cy­ber­crim­i­nals are tar­get­ing ho­tel net­works and in­fect­ing com­put­ers with an aim to steal per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of guests. Tech­niques that ho­tel hack­ers use range from the math­e­mat­i­cal to crypto-an­a­lyt­i­cal says PwC. “This is usu­ally done by hack­ers wait­ing for guests to check in and log on to the ho­tel Wi-Fi by usu­ally sub­mit­ting their room num­ber and sur­name,” says Veneta Efty­chis, se­nior man­ager, PwC hos­pi­tal­ity and gam­ing in­dus­try. “There­after the ho­tel guest gets tricked into down­load­ing and in­stalling a so-called back­door file, which pre­tends to be an up­date for le­git­i­mate soft­ware, such as the Google Tool­bar or Adobe Flash.”

PwC ex­plains that un­sus­pect­ing guests could risk down­load­ing this ho­tel ‘welcome pack­age’ only to in­fect their ma­chines with spy­ware. South African ho­tels were also tar­geted by fraud­sters in 2012 and 2013 who used mal­ware known as Dex­ter. The mal­ware skimmed and trans­mit­ted credit cards’ mag­netic-strip in­for­ma­tion, al­low­ing clones to be made.

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