2020 lockdowns and travel restrictions posed challenges to the hospitality industry. Without guests, hotels were forced to lay off workers just to keep the lights on. Even the five star Pierre Hotel in New York City was among those hit hardest, forcing layoffs and limiting events just for the hope of returning to days gone by. All the while, hackers were at work creating cybersecurity disasters that could hurt your hospitality business, no matter how many guests are walking through the door.
Professionals in Hospitality IT Services report the following as the most common disasters:
- Website hacking, including DDoS attacks, making your website unusable
- Code that deletes critical business information
- Ransomware that essentially holds a business hostage to hackers
- Phishing scams that gather personal data of current and past guests
In this article, we write about cybersecurity disasters and how Hospitality IT Services can protect your hotel employees and guests.
Hotel stays start and end with a credit card. Guests may make a call or, and more likely, they are booking through your website or app, and checking out through the app, at the front desk, or automatically by hotel staff. This creates a number of ways for credit card data to be extracted and utilized by someone who is not the person named on the account.
Making sure the guest’s credit card information, both current and historical data is secure is just one of the ways Hospitality IT Services can help your business.
Not only is credit card information at risk, so is personal information from guests that can be used for identity theft, or worse, making a case for updating and maintaining network security. Cybersecurity is a must-have for the hospitality industry simply because of the sheer amount of data you’re holding for current, past, and future guests and employees.
Not only that but guests who use hotel Wi-Fi, even with security in place, are more likely to get hacked than those who avoid it. Phones, laptops, and guest information can be leaked from servers and databases if data is constantly monitored and updated.
In our article Costs of Ransomware to Your Business, we wrote about the ransomware attack of the Colonial Pipeline which cost the company $4.4 million just to get oil running through their pipes, not to mention the global PR nightmare they had to manage. When you partner with a company like TekConcierge for Hospitality IT Services, it is a business expense, but it can also save the business by protecting it from hackers.
Left without properly monitored security, the hospitality industry is leaving itself open to these types of attacks that cause downtime, PR issues, loss of consumer confidence, and fewer guests.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack
One of the popular cybersecurity disasters that could hurt your hospitality business is DDoS. The reason is that hackers are able to get through security one way and continue to target an array of systems. Security cameras and sprinkler systems are often left vulnerable to attack. Once hackers are in the hotel virtually, they continue their hunt for areas where security can be easily breached like computers and servers. It’s like something we only saw in movies but is now real.
Hospitality IT Services mitigate risk and monitor all systems for attempted hacks. If they can’t get into your systems, the hackers will go elsewhere.
DarkHotel is a cybersecurity disaster that could hurt your hospitality business.
If you haven’t heard of DarkHotel, you’re not alone. This one is relatively new and uses hotel Wi-Fi to breach security. Using forced digital certificates, hackers convince guests to download software. It looks safe but is anything but safe, and definitely not secure. DarkHotel first appeared in 2007 but lately is a growing trend. If your guests are concerned, encourage them to use VPN rather than Wi-Fi.
While ransomware is often done by a group of hackers who remain shielded by Bitcoin, phishing attacks are often individuals attempting to extort money. This happens at hotels when there are expos or conferences. Large crowds mean large deposits for rooms. Cybercriminals convince payroll departments to approve transfers and are able to gain access through this process. Left to phish, they gain access not only to money but personal data as well.
As facial recognition, fingerprints, and keyless entry to hotel rooms becomes more popular, so is the threat of data breach. Not only can these data breaches hurt hotel guests financially, but their identities can also be used for criminal activities, putting your hotel’s reputation at risk. While biometric technology is innovative and efficient for hoteliers, it creates greater potential for data breaches.
Protect your hotel’s reputation and the integrity of employee and guest data when you hire TekConcierge for Hospitality IT Services. Contact us today to get started.