Low Hanging Fruit for Hackers

Hubby and I recently went to Georgia and stayed a couple of days in a hotel.  Naturally we took our small netbook so I could keep up with emails and blogging comments.  I had to sign into the hotels wifi system and what a headache that was.  First, it tells me I need a username and password, but wasn’t given that information.  Called the front desk for the information, signed in and did my work.  Little did I know that my computer was low hanging fruit for hackers!!

Low Hanging Fruit for Hackers

I found out when we got back home and started to use the netbook again that it had been hacked!!  Seems I let my anti virus protection expire and I didn’t have any data security.  ARRGGGH!!!  Thank goodness I didn’t use that computer for anything but surfing the net and didn’t use my credit card on any of those sites.  I did have to change the passwords on the websites I look at.  What a hassle!

I was reading an article the other day about data security in hotels and why its not a good idea to use your laptops there.  Hotels love the information the get from their customers and they don’t do “dumps” like most companies do and they don’t have the best security systems either.  Another thing about hotel wifi is that its Public and anybody can see what you are doing.  Even sitting outside of your hotel.

Low Hanging Fruit for Hackers

Here are a few tips from that article:

Ask your hotel what security measures it has in place to protect your personal information from data breaches.  Do its use a firewall?  Does it prohibit remote access to customer data?  How long does it keep your information?

Make sure your computer’s firewall is turned on and your virus and malware protection are up to date.

∙  Use long strong passwords composed of letters, numbers and characters and change them often.  Use a different one for each account.

∙  Turn off file sharing, disable peer to peer networking and remove sensitive data from your laptop before your next trip.

∙  Check to make certain you’re logging into your hotel’s Wifi network, not a fake hotspot designed to steal your personal information.

∙  Don’t pay bills, use credit cards or conduct other financial transactions on hotel wireless networks.

∙  Turn off your wireless network when you’re not using it.

∙  Monitor your credit card statements after each trip.

∙  Don’t use a debit card to pay your hotel bill.  A cybercrook could empty your bank account before you notice.

The video below explains more.

 

If you are someone who needs to be on wifi in public a lot it would be a great idea to use software which will help stop the hackers where ever you go.

I would rather pay a few dollars for software protection, then hundreds or thousands in stolen passwords or credit card numbers and most importantly what it does to your credit score. 

Be safe and take control of your computer,

Tammy

 

3 Comments

  1. Great tips. I have often wondered about the security of hotel networks. Thanks for sharing you story. I will definitely be more careful from now on.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Its becoming more and more of a problem and I also rely so much on Norton Anti Virus to protect my computers. My SIL, who travels quite often, suggested the same thing for a computer that “travels”. I would rather spend a few dollars on good software then hundreds of dollars and a bad credit check in the future.

  2. These are excellent tips, Tammy! I never thought about leaving myself open to hackers when using hotel wifi…or anyone’s wifi for that! So scary!

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