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Data thieves want to track what you type at hotel business centers

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 15, 2014
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You may not want to use your hotel's business center to check email on your next big trip. The Secret Service has warned the hospitality business that thieves are installing keyloggers on hotel PCs to steal guests' data. In a recent Dallas area bust, authorities caught multiple people swiping account logins, banking info and other personal details from travelers typing away at compromised business center systems. The culprits didn't even have to exploit security holes to get in -- the key-tracking software required "little technical skill."

The Secret Service recommends that hotels do more to clamp down on theft, such as giving guests limited PC accounts that prevent them from installing apps. As security guru Brian Krebs notes, though, that's not going to help much. Even if the PCs wipe their data clean after every session, it's not hard to run code from a CD or USB drive to thwart most defense mechanisms. The best solution may simply be to do what many already do -- use your own devices to check sensitive info, and use a hotel's public computers only for content you'd be comfortable showing to strangers.

[Image credit: João Lavinha, Flickr]

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