In a new Public Service Announcement, the FBI has warned of the dangers of using Wi-Fi networks in hotels, listing the potential risks involved. Primarily, the announcement warns that the networks typically favor guest convenience over strong security practices, and could therefore leave users vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The wireless passwords used by hotels aren’t always kept secret, with small hotels often displaying the password on a sign at their service desk. These passwords are also changed infrequently, meaning that, in many cases, access can be easy to obtain by using a combination of a room number and a password. Guests themselves are usually unable to control, verify, or monitor network security, so they have no way of knowing what, if any, protections are in place.

Additionally, a hotel may have old or outdated network equipment and software with unpatched vulnerabilities that criminals can easily exploit.  This type of shared and unsecured public network provides an inviting target for cybercriminals, who can monitor a victim’s internet browsing activity or redirect them to illicit login pages.

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