British travellers at risk from insecure Wi-Fi networks in Europe, warns NCSC

The National Cyber Security Centre has warned British travellers about the risks of connecting to insecure or untrusted Wi-Fi networks during their travels.

Russian hacker group Fancy Bear is hacking into hotel Wi-Fi networks across Europe to gain access to guest devices and to steal sensitive information.

The National Cyber Security Centre has urged British travellers to stay away from 'insecure or untrusted' Wi-Fi networks at European hotels to ensure that hackers are not able to gain access to their sensitive data.

An advisory published by the government agency has also asked users to implement additional security in their mailboxes and also to secure their phones as the risk of their devices being tracked by hackers is quite large.

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”Hackers can set-up fake WiFi hotspots, which might enable them to intercept sensitive information you are transferring online," said an NCSC spokesman.

Even though hackers have the tools in place to crack device security, you can make their work a lot harder by keeping a complex and a strong password, updating all apps as well and also updating your phone's software to ensure that the latest security patches are in place.

"Fancy Bear have allegedly been seeking access to hotel Wi-Fi networks to install malware on guest devices connecting to targeted networks. According to researchers, the attackers may have been able to gain access to victim’s data, including emails, and to harvest online credentials," said NCSC's threat report.

"The hacking campaign, which has been noted predominantly in mid-upmarket hotels in European capitals and the Middle East, could be targeting foreign government and business travellers. Travellers should be aware of their digital security when travelling overseas. Where possible, travellers are advised not to connect to insecure or untrusted Wi-Fi networks," it added.

In June, a McAfee report revealed that increasing use of social media by British travellers is placing their security and privacy at risk. The security firm observed that as many as one in five of all travellers tag their holiday locations on social media without worrying about the security risks to their homes and belongings.

The report added that as many as 34% of Brits post about their travels and locations on social media when they are away from home. As many as 70% travellers do not care if people outside of their friends and family see their pictures and locations.

A Survey conducted by McAfee revealed that during their travels, 32% Brits received phishing e-mails from cyber-criminals masquerading as friends and 25% of them received fraudulent e-mails asking for money or to click on malicious links.

Most worryingly, as many as 54% of all British travellers that McAfee surveyed told the firm they would use an insecure Wi-Fi connection rather than go without. As many as 55% of travellers also couldn't tell if a Wi-Fi connection was secure.