WiFi in hotels provide security risks to users

News by Dan Raywood

Insecure WiFi systems installed at hotels across the UK could be hacked.

Insecure WiFi systems installed at hotels across the UK could be hacked.


Following its claims that WiFi is no longer a secure method of connection last week, Global Secure Systems has warned that insecure WiFi systems installed at hotels across the UK could be hacked with embarrassing consequences, as has happened with the high-end Thompson hotel chain in the US.


Weekend reports in the US suggested that a hacker has threatened to release a number of embarrassing emails sent and received by guests and staff at the high-end Thompson hotel chain there.


GSS' managing director David Hobson claimed that the same thing could happen in the UK, as many hotels leave their WiFi networks open - i.e. without a password - for guests to use in their rooms. He said: “This potentially leaves the systems open to hacker incursions, and could end up with guests' emails being plastered all over the Internet.”


Hobson said that the use of WiFi passwords in hotels is a relatively easy security procedure to implement, with reception staff giving out the passwords to guests as they check in. By changing the passwords on a regular basis, guests can be assured their online sessions, including their email interchanges, will remain private, as they should be.


Hobson said: “Many hotel guests use Webmail, rather than email client software, on their laptops for convenience's sakes. If a hacker gains access to an open WiFi network in the hotel, they can easily eavesdrop on the Webmail sessions, with potential embarrassing consequences for the guests and the hotel(s) concerned.


"UK hotels should now be looking to their WiFi security procedures to prevent a possible run of copycat hacker attacks on this side of the Atlantic. Using WiFi passwords isn't rocket science - it's common sense security and whilst this has highlighted one potential issue – open web mail, it also highlights issues with all open public hotspots. You need to ensure your PC/laptop is set up with personal firewalls to stop hackers bouncing off hotspots on to your hard drive!”

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