Hotel Malware Scam Alert

Cyber criminals are infecting travelers' laptops with malicious software (malware) while they are trying to establish an internet connection in their hotel rooms.  The Intelligence Note below from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides details of this scam.

iC3 LogoIntelligence Note
Prepared by the
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
May 8, 2012


Recent analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.

Recently, there have been instances of travelers' laptops being infected with malicious software while using hotel Internet connections. In these instances, the traveler was attempting to setup the hotel room Internet connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely-used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.

The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products on their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling, and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor's Web site if updates are necessary while abroad.

Anyone who believes they have been a target of this type of attack should immediately contact their local FBI office, and promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency forcase consideration. The complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns.


Important Note: Although this advisory focuses on issues when traveling abroad, it is important to know that these types of fraudulent activities can happen when traveling domestically as well.  The same level of care and security should be used no matter where you travel with your laptop or other mobile device.

Education is your best defense – know what to look for and what to do. To find out more about how to protect yourself from fraud, visit the Privacy & Security Center at