Asian Luxury Hotels Part of Cyber Espionage

If you travel and stay in luxury hotels in Asia, be aware that security researchers have uncovered a sophisticated industrial espionage campaign.  This cyber espionage campaign targets business executives in luxury hotels across Asia that connect to the hotel wireless connections.  Executives believe these connections are private and secure however they are wrong.

According to recent report from Kaspersky Lab, the attacks cyber espionage campaign has claimed thousands of victims since 2009 and the number continues to grow.  The cyber criminals have targeted executive from multiple industries including automotive, outsourced manufacturing, cosmetic and chemical industries.  They have also targeted very sensitive industries including military services and contractors.

The unfortunate part is that back in 2012, the FBI issued a warning advising them to use caution when updating computer software via hotel Internet connections when traveling abroad.

So how did they execute this cyber espionage?

The cybercriminals were tracking the movements of executives as they traveled therefore allowing them to pounce once a victim accesses a hotel Wi-Fi network.  Once the cyber criminals are done, they would cover their tracks by deleting their presence and tools off the hotels network.

Once an executive would submit their room number and surname to log into the wireless network, they would be enticed to download and update a legitimate software such as Adobe Flash or Google Toolbar.  This group is also known to use other tools such as keystroke-logging software.

Kaspersky has declined to name the executives involved or the infected hotels but it has claimed to inform the hotels as well as law enforcement officials.

Over 90% of the executives came from five countries including Japan, Taiwan, China, Russia and South Korea.  Other executives came from Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States.

There still is a large piece of unknown information. How did the hacker know the travel itinerary?  This points to a larger compromise of hotel business networks.

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