Security Breach in Hospitality

Data breaches are a concern to all kinds of business and industries worldwide, but with the rise of internet, more and more hoteliers are adopting innovations for their guests, making everything more connected as well as more attractive for potential “predators”.

According to the 2016 Trustwave Global Security Report, the hospitality industry has the second largest share of breach incidents. Both large chains and single properties have been affected

Point-of-sale (POS) malware is one of the biggest source of stolen payment cards for cyber criminals but there is lots of other information to target as well.

Hotels have massive data bases, they store all kinds of information from their guests from payment to medical issues. All this information when fallen in the wrong hands can lead to cleaning up bank accounts or identity theft.

We also need to consider that certain chains have an infrastructure that is set up throughout all the properties, making them connected, allowing the cyber criminals to steal information from several properties in a short amount of time.

Here are some steps to reduce the risk of data breach and hotel fraud:

  1. Assess Risks: know where your sensitive information is stored as well as weather it moves inside and outside of the organization
  2. Protect POS systems: According to Trustwave, 65% of breaches are caused by POS point-of-sale malware with weak remote access security contributing to 44% of the compromises. Invest in the latest cyber security tools including encryption, anti-virus software, and firewalls to safeguard against POS attacks and other malware. Patch all terminals regularly especially those in constant use. Isolate POS systems from other networks.
  3. Employee Training: train your employees by sending them simulated attacks at least once a month. It’s always human error that allow the attackers to come in. Don’t forbid them to use social media, it will only make them use third party websites which are even more dangerous
  4. Culture of security: Implement a culture of security so that security awareness is ingrained from day one. It should be evident at all levels of the organization.
  5. Update: your machines and software and invest in the appropriate protection
  6. Be proactive: Don’t wait for an attack to take action

How can you protect yourself as a guest from common hotel security threats?

  1. Always use a VPN while navigating the net from the hotel Wi-Fi
  2. Hold off on software updates while travelling, spoofed software updates might me pushed through
  3. Avoid potentially modified USB ports, use your own charger
  4. Don’t bring along sensitive data on trips, use encryption if you do

Hotels have always provided great physical security for their guests, and now it’s important to show that all property including confidential information is secure.

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