New Hotel WiFi Vulnerability

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Earlier this year, the FTC posted an article on their website declaring that hotel WiFi is dangerous and that many hotels WiFi users are unaware of this.

As PRIVATE WiFi CEO Kent Lawson stated in reaction to the FTC’s statement, this announcement is critical for travelers because many people assume that because they are paying for it, their hotel’s WiFi network must be safe. That’s a dangerous assumption to make, because most hotel WiFi networks are completely insecure.

And the bad news is that a new exposure in hotel WiFi has just been found.

Vulnerable Hotel Routers

Recently, a security company named Cylance published a report stating that they’ve found a vulnerability in an Internet router used by eight of the top ten hotel chains. This susceptibility allows hackers to not only see everything that hotel guests are doing online, but also allows access to the hotels’ Property Management System (PMS) which contains everything from credit card information to in-room temperature.

While the company that made the router has issued a patch, the damage has already been done and larger security concerns still exist. No one knows if hackers were able to steal information as a result of this vulnerability, but it’s long been known that hackers target hotel WiFi networks because of their lax security.

Protect Yourself: Use a VPN

It’s worth remembering that a hotel WiFi network is no different from any other public WiFi network; anything you do on an unprotected WiFi network can be seen by anyone else on the network who has simple, free software that they can use to “sniff” the network and see everything that you are doing online.

Public WiFi is open and not safe; most hotels are trading security for a WiFi network that is easy to login to and provides them a steady revenue stream.

In their report on hotel WiFi, the FTC states that if you regularly need to access online accounts through public WiFi networks, you should use a virtual private network (VPN). Only a VPN like PRIVATE WiFi encrypts all your Internet communication and stops it from being intercepted by others.

We couldn’t agree more. So be sure when you log into a hotel WiFi network on your next business trip, that you’re protecting your data and your privacy with a VPN. 

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Alok Kapur

Alok Kapur is President and Chief Operating Officer at PRIVATE WiFi. In this role, Alok drive all aspects of marketing, business development and partnerships, sales and customer service for the company. Follow him on Twitter: @Aloknyc.