Cybersecurity for Hotels: 6 Threats Just Around the Corner From Your Property
Technology is a huge part of how businesses operate in the modern era. As a hotelier, you likely have a website and social media presence that guests can browse. You may also send out emails to connect with customers. No matter how you use the internet, there's a lot to watch out for in the way of scams. Cybersecurity is a component that all companies in this industry need to learn about. It's imperative to protect yourself and your guests.
- POS Attacks
- Phishing Scams
- Wi-Fi Data Theft
- DDoS Attacks
- Insider Threats
Behind the retail and finance sectors, hospitality is the most likely to experience a data breach. Point-of-sale, or POS, systems contribute heavily to this statistic. Many hoteliers think their specific system comes secured, but that's not always true. Weak passwords and outdated software make it easy for hackers to access tons of sensitive customer information. Third-party companies tend to manage this data, so be sure to educate yourself about their security measures.
Many criminals now take over internal infrastructures and hold them ransom before they're released. In 2017, an Austrian hotel was compromised by hackers who wouldn't let it distribute room keys until they were given a certain amount of money. The hotel's computer systems were locked, so managers had no choice but to pay the hackers. Keep your technology updated and backed up to prevent this.
These are some of the most common attacks out there. Although they aren't super sophisticated, they work. Phishing scams come mainly in the form of malicious emails, but can even take place through the lottery as well – urgency is the central factor. These messages push recipients to accept a special offer or claim a reward before it goes to waste. Watch out for any of these forms of phishing.
You may offer your guests free Wi-Fi to enjoy during their stay. Unfortunately, this perk comes with a few downfalls. Hackers can create fake access portals that look like the real deal. When someone connects to it, they can read all their personal information. To ensure this doesn't happen to your customers, let them know that there's only one legitimate Wi-Fi network – yours.
Distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks are another way hackers gain access to hotel systems. They use fake users to flood servers and effectively shut down entire websites. This action prevents genuine users from accessing certain features. Because hotels use a variety of services that are all connected, like TVs and security cameras, this makes a huge impact. Be warned that in some cases, DDoS attacks are used as diversions.
Though it's important to trust your employees, you can never be too careful. Workers are responsible for tons of sensitive data, which means they know how to obtain it at all times. Train all hires on the threats of cybersecurity. When an employee leaves to work elsewhere, check that you change your passwords and revoke their access. Manage multi-user with multiple permissions in your property management system. Emphasize an environment that embraces and rewards honesty.
How to Protect Your Hotel
Always keep your systems updated and backed up in another location. Develop a plan and set of policies to bring security measures up to date. Use services supplied by certified vendors, and above all else, educate yourself and your employees on these matters. The more you know, the more prepared you'll be in the event of a breach.
Make Cybersecurity a Priority
So many businesses, large and small, have experienced some sort of cyberattack. That's why your hotel must defend itself against them. To protect yourself and your guests, be sure to prioritize a secure system all around.