Connecting From a Hotel? Got a Pop-up? Be Careful. (A Guest Post by Sharon Nelson)

Many thanks to Sharon Nelson for penning this week’s guest post. Sharon is the President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a computer forensics and legal technology firm in Fairfax, Virginia.  She has authored many books published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section, most recently, Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers. Sharon blogs at “Ride the Lightning.”

Last month, the FBI issued a warning about malware which targets travelers abroad trying to connect from their hotel rooms. It warned that malware might be installed when travelers were attempting to connect to the Internet and clicked on a pop-up window asking them to update a popular piece of software.

Naked Security published a marvelous post asking questions about the FBI’s less-than-wholly-helpful warning.

The betting money is that the FBI was talking about China which has become our cyber-boogeyman and some think the software was Adobe Flash.

As a general rule, no matter where you are, you should not click on a pop-up until you have a secure connection. Generally, in a hotel, you will achieve that secure connection through a VPN, a MiFi device, an aircard or tethering. If you see a pop-up before you have a secure connection, that should trip your radar right away. Anytime something doesn’t feel right to you, you should trust your instincts.

And as a good security practice, you should install software updates before you travel.

Finally, don’t think the scenario the FBI paints can only happen abroad – trying to get malware on your computers has become as American as the Fourth of July.

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