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You can log in anytime you like, and your data can always leave.

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The Risk Tip has previously advised of the dangers of traveling with your laptop.  But, leaving it behind can pose its own risks.  What if you’re on the road with just a smartphone, and need to use a real computer or just print something?  Can you pop by your hotel business center, and log on from there?

This past week, the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center issued a warning to travelers and the hospitality industry about hotel business centers.  In particular, several hotels in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area have had their computers infected with keystroke-logging malware, which has allowed crooks to obtain personally identifiable information; log-in credentials to bank, retirement, and personal accounts; as well as other sensitive data. 

So, what to do?  As one security guru opines

The next hotel business center you visit may be completely locked down and secure, or it could be wide open and totally overrun with malware. The trouble is that there is no easy way for the average guest to know for sure. That’s why I routinely advise people not to use public computers for anything more than browsing the Web. If you’re on the road and need to print something from your email account, create a free, throwaway email address at yopmail.com or 10minutemail.com and use your mobile device to forward the email or file to that throwaway address, and then access the throwaway address from the public computer.