America’s FBI Warns of Security Risks in Using Hotel Wi-Fi

“Most users don’t seem to realize the severity of the risks they’re subjecting themselves to while using hotel Wi-Fi networks,” writes Windows Report, noting that America’s FBI “issued a Public Service Announcement concerning the risks of using hotel Wi-Fi networks while teleworking.” Apparently, more and more U.S. hotels started advertising room reservations during the daytime for those who seek a distraction-free environment. This comes as a blessing for teleworkers who can’t seem to focus on their work environment while at home. On the other hand…there are a few quite serious risks you may expose yourself to while using Wi-Fi networks in hotels:

– Traffic monitoring: Your network activity could be exposed to a malicious third-party

– Evil Twin attacks: Cloning the hotel network, misleading clients to connect to the fake one instead

– Man-In-The-Middle attacks: Intercepting and stealing sensitive information from one’s device

– Compromising work” Facilitating cybercriminals to steal work credentials or other similar resources

– Digital identity theft

– Ransomware

Among other things, the FBI points out: Guests generally have minimal visibility into both the physical location of wireless access points within the hotel and the age of networking equipment. Old, outdated equipment is significantly more likely to possess vulnerabilities that criminal actors can exploit. Even if a hotel is using modern equipment, the guest has no way of knowing how frequently the hotel is updating the firmware of that equipment or whether the hotel has changed the equipment’s default passwords. The hotel guest must take each of these factors into consideration when choosing whether to telework on a hotel network.
Or, as Slashdot reader SmartAboutThings puts it, “Using hotel Wi-Fi, in general, is not safe at all, and if you have no other choice, then you might as well give VPN services a try.”

Or, just don’t use the hotel’s wifi (using your cellphone as a mobile hotspot instead).