Summer Time Security

Summer is here, and as most people spend vacation in hotels/motels here are some security tips to keep in mind.

The Secret Service has confirmed what you’ve probably suspected for a long time: Public computers at hotels are ridiculously insecure, and you’re taking a gamble with your personal data each time you use one.
 
Security expert Brian Krebs shared a private Secret Service bulletin directed toward the hotel industry. The American government warns hotel managers that public computers in their establishments are, by and large, vulnerable to simplistic attacks that can compromise some of their patrons’ most sensitive details.
 
Hotel computers are obscenely easy for hackers to get ahold of, considering that attackers can have more-or-less unrestricted physical access to public computers (many hotels have a “business center,” where visitors can browse the Internet, check e-mail and print documents) for the cost of a single night’s stay.
 
Hacking computers remotely takes a little know-how, but compromising physical computers is usually as simple as installing a surreptitious keylogger via a USB stick. Keyloggers are what they sound like: They keep track of everything that users type into a computer, then transmit this information back to the hacker.
 
Given that users at hotels use public computers to check email, print boarding passes, pay for travel arrangements and download private business information, it’s not too hard to imagine what an imaginative hacker could do with this information. Worse still, there isn’t much that even a savvy hotel operator can do to prevent this misuse.
 
As usual, users will have to take responsibility for their own safety when it comes to hotel computers. Using your own computer or mobile device is much more secure than using a hotel machine, so bring a device and use hotel Wi-Fi or mobile data when possible. If you need to print documents, it’s probably safer to save them on a mobile device or USB stick and transfer them to the hotel machine.
 

Not every hotel is compromised, of course; the Secret Service did not provide estimates on how prevalent hacking hotel machines was, just that it happens and that it’s very easy to do. Still, a little caution is probably wise; nothing ruins a vacation quite like having your identity stolen.

If you have any system question or concerns, contact the CCS Retail Support Department at 800.672.4806 or email us.

-Bryan

Using Strong Passwords

I am seeing more and more where different websites are requiring stronger passwords. Passwords are considered strong when the consist of 8 or more characters, include at least 1 capital letter, a number and some type of punctuation and not used at another site.   

Well if you’re like me, trying to remember a strong password is not easy with all the different websites that require a password.  But there is a way!  Password managers allow you create 1 password that will remember all of your other passwords.  

There are may different ones out there now a days, so do some research to see what will work best for you.  Things you should look at is if it will work with your favorite browser, does it include a password generator (this is helpful for creating strong passwords), and does it work across all your devices. 

With a little re-training of yourself to start using a password manager, you will only need to remember 1 password for access to all of your important sites. 

Some possible password managers to look at are: Dashlane, Keepass, and DriodPass (Android).  There are many others – just Google “password managers”.

-Bryan