Why Does the Hospitality Sector Need to Invest in Cybersecurity?
With evolving technologies, hospitality industries are now reliant on the use of internet and electronic devices for the daily functioning of the business. Today customers can reserve a hotel room, specify requirements and make payment for it with just a smartphone. Hotels use the internet for processes like sending an e-voucher, confirming a booking or sharing details about a booking. Apart from dealing with customers, hospitality businesses also integrate the front end functions with their accounts or management information systems. Cybersecurity for the hospitality industry is vital for the industry to function smoothly.
This convenience also comes with vulnerabilities. Being online means, you may be open to cyber-attacks. Our cybersecurity team in Perth has years of experience in helping hospitality businesses stay secure. Here’s a quick insight into what you need to know about the threats and how you can ensure your protection.
Why hospitality businesses attract cybercriminals?
- They collect and manage records of sensitive information like passport details, travel itinerary, credit card information and more.
- The hospitality industry is spread out geographically, making them a large attack surface and a wide source of information of individuals that may be valuable in different regions of the world.
- They administer a good number of financial transactions, often involving executives and wealthy individuals whose information is sought by cybercriminals.
- They have databases of customer’s personally identifiable information (PII) and various access details like third-party vendors and software systems.
How do hackers penetrate the hospitality network system?
The hospitality industry offers multiple entry points for hackers to infiltrate their network. It’s essential that every business must recognise its potential entry points used by cybercriminals to penetrate its business.
- The various endpoints like Wi-Fi networks, IoT devices, electronic door locks, alarms, and more become easy entry points for hackers to gain access.
- Hospitality sectors rely on various third-party vendors for important services like maintenance, payroll and more. Hackers utilise these third parties as entry points.
- Hotels and other hospitality organizations have staff with high turnover rates due to the seasonal nature of the industry. Most of these staff lack cybersecurity awareness or are not trained properly.
- Hacking into a single regional hotel’s network gives attackers access to the whole centralised system and with a dispersed network, it gets even more difficult to ensure safety.
- Big label names are often subjected to brand impersonations. Hackers use it to target customers with phishing scams and other fraudulent attempts.
Over the past few years, threats have increased against organisations in the hospitality industry at an alarming rate, and several of the high-profile data breaches impacted big brands in the industry. To defend against these growing risks, cybersecurity for the hospitality industry need an extra mile of security measures.
Cyber-threats targeting the hospitality industry
Understanding the various threats is important to implement the right cybersecurity measures to keep your organisation safe.
Customer Data/Identity Theft: Hackers try to steal customers’ sensitive information from organisations using malware, computer viruses and social engineering methods.
Denial-of-Service or DDoS attacks: A malicious attempt to disrupt the normal flow of a server, network or service by plunging it or its infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic. This will result in websites and entire computer systems being brought down.
Darkhotel hacking: A technique that involves hacking the organisation Wi-Fi and gain information from the customers.
Payment card attacks or Point of sale (POS): Hackers attack the vendor rather than the organisation itself. This is a type of third-party crime. This results in customers suffering financial losses. The media getting involved can cause bad press for your organisation and sometimes financial implications too.
How to protect your organisation from cyberattacks?
Hacking – activities that take advantage of system vulnerabilities and compromise digital information.
IoT devices – Internet of Things refers to the network of physical devices around the world that are connected to the internet to connect and exchange data.