Are you reactive when it comes to updating to the latest release or downloading an updated security patch for the software on your laptop? Relax. It's very common. Most of us only think about updating software when it demands that we do so. However, if your software starts demanding an update while you're using a hotel's internet connection, put on your caution-glasses.
A recent FBI memo warns that some hotel internet access points located outside of the U.S. are being used to spread malware by showing you a pop-up window that asks you to update your software. To avoid this ensnarement, here are a few handy tips:
- Start a new habit: have your laptop run critical software updates while you pack for your trip.
- Decide never to run a software update from a hotel or any other unfamiliar internet connection.
- Refuse to use the pop-up. Instead, open the actual program and check for critical update needs, ensuring that you are getting updates directly from the vendor.
- Ignore the pop-up, and make a note for yourself to check for program updates once you return home.
- Ask your company's IT department (if possible) to check your laptop before and after trips for malicious software and necessary updates or patches, especially when you are traveling abroad.
- Note: it may not be enough to simply check the software certificate, as there have been some fraudulent signatures reported. If there is any question about the authenticity of a pop-up, it's best to go to the source.
While the FBI memo only mentions these incidents occurring while traveling abroad, the internet is a global economy, so extending precautions to your home territory is a good idea.
If this scenario already sounds way-too-familiar to you, please contact the FBI and report your incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3's complaint database will use this information to refer you to the appropriate law enforcement agency, as well as track the prevalence of this particular threat.