The US Secret Service is warning hotel operators to be on the lookout for malware that steals passwords and other sensitive data from guests using PCs in business centers, according to a published report.
The non-public advisory was issued on last Thursday, KrebsOnSecurity reporter Brian Krebs reported Monday. Krebs said the notice warned that authorities recently arrested suspects who infected computers at several major hotel business centers around Dallas. In that case, crooks using stolen credit card data to register as hotel guests used business center computers to access Gmail accounts. From there, they downloaded and installed keylogging software. The malware then surreptitiously captured login credentials for banking and other online services accessed by guests who later used the compromised PCs.
The report is a poignant reminder why it's rarely a good idea to use public PCs for anything more than casual browsing of websites. Even when PCs are within eyesight of a business center employee, librarian, or other supervisor, and even when it is locked down with limited "guest" privileges, there are usually a host of ways attackers can compromise machines running either Windows or Mac OS X. Krebs wrote: