US Executives Face Fire From Hackers Even At Luxury Hotels
U.S. executives traveling to Asia have become the targets of luxury hotels looking to steal their sensitive information, dating back at least to 2007, according to a report released by security experts.
According to the largest private security firm in the world, Kasperky Lab, when executives connect to the Internet, hackers bide their time and specifically target these individuals by tricking them into downloading software that appears to be a legitimate update. But once downloaded, hackers can track each and every step of the executive, and even access the executive’s entire computer. Thousands have been the targets of brutal attacks in the form of bogus updates to Adobe Flash and Microsoft Messenger, among other examples. Kaspersky labeled the series of attacks the “Darkhotel” campaign.
The FBI issued a travel warning to businessmen about connecting to Internet in hotels around the world, telling them to update their software first, but it appears that this warning from 2012 has had little effect. Industries of interest to these hotels include manufacturing, chemical companies, and military contractors.
“When traveling, any network, even semi-private ones in hotels, should be viewed as potentially dangerous,” Kaspersky analysts wrote.
While 90 percent of the targeted executives come from Japan, Taiwan, China, Russia, and South Korea, this is mostly because of geographical proximity to luxury hotels in Asia. Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the United States. Neither the names of the executives nor the luxury hotels implicated in the breaches were released by Kaspersky, but
“These attackers are going after a very specific set of individuals who should be very aware of the value of their information and be taking strong measures to protect it,” said Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher for Kaspersky.
What remains a mystery is how these attackers know the exact itineraries of business executives in the first place, but researchers will continue to examine hotel business networks for evidence of breach. Some of these systems were formerly thought to be fully secure.
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