Cyber thieves tricking hotel WiFi users

Published: Jul. 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Travelers love to stay connected, even it means logging on during  summer vacation. But there's a problem security experts say could pop up during a hotel stay.

More and more hotels are stepping up and offering guests free WiFi, but security experts say some thieves are using the popular service to steal guests' sensitive information, and they're doing it by tricking people into using a fake free WiFi connection.

A cyber thief creates a dummy WiFi connection using a mobile hot spot, and will give it a generic name to resemble a hotel's actual WiFi connection, such as "Free Hotel WiFi." If a guest connects their laptop to the dummy WiFi, the thief gains access to all of the guest's browsing activity, and will often times use a key-logger program to capture username and password information.

Craig Con over runs CompuDirect, a computer technology company in Myrtle Beach. Con over says he's heard complaints about this crime from clients. He recommends checking with the front desk for the proper hotel WiFi name, and anyone who does connect should be careful about how they use the Internet.

"This is something you want to use for directions to a restaurant, things like that. You don't want to be doing your online banking or ordering stuff online from whatever store you like," added Con over.

Another option Con over recommends is to travel with your very own wireless hot spot device. He says they're becoming more affordable and you can pre-pay for the service.

"Connect through that only," he recommended. "It's through cellular, it's 4G, it's fast enough. That's the best option. There are multiple ones out there. You pre-pay, you buy the device, you go on vacation, you pay for that month."

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