Cybersecurity has become a concern for the hotel industry. This sector is constantly exposed to hacking, due to the large amount of data moving in that environment.
In addition, in the reservation centres, hacking is also carried out, extracting data such as telephone numbers, addresses, names, ID cards, passports and e-mails, among others.
Cybersecurity, one of the concerns of hoteliers
Hotels are places where a lot of confidential data moves, and this powerfully attracts cybercriminals. Hotel communication equipment is easy to hack into, not least because wifi networks are not updated.
Some of the personal data on display are intimate, such as card numbers or guests’ bank accounts.
Online booking portals are very vulnerable, as are email bookings. Even hotel workers can put their own personal data at risk.
A cyber attack on a hotel can have catastrophic consequences for the company, for example:
- The reputation of the hotel. Their visits fall considerably, with the consequent loss of confidence.
- Economic damage due to this loss of trust and low reputation of the hotel, which can lead to bankruptcy.
- Inactivity after a cyber attack. It can last from hours to weeks, depending on the degree and subsequent need for recovery.
- Information leakage. It can end in a total loss of data, with the risks it poses to the hotel.
- Economic sanctions for non-compliance with current regulations, which can generate large losses.
For hoteliers, cybersecurity has become an important aspect of their lives and is receiving increasing attention. The one it really deserves.
The reasons for cyber-attacks can vary widely, not just for economic gain.
It is often sought to negatively affect the hotel in question. Others are industrial or commercial espionage. Sometimes there are cases in which personal satisfaction is sought, and hacking becomes the challenge of one or more people.
On a much larger scale, it would be a question of political espionage, which seeks to influence the economy or politics nationally and internationally. These may be terrorist groups that want to push for their demands.
Whatever the reason, economic and personal losses are assured, and the urgency of covering vulnerabilities in hotel management systems is growing as these attacks progress.
How to have a secure infrastructure?
In order to have a secure digital infrastructure, different factors have to be taken into account.
Identifying risks and vulnerabilities
In other words, to carry out an audit to evaluate the potential risks to which they may be exposed in a hotel. Classify the threats and the systems used in the facilities.
Among the systems used, which must be evaluated, the following aspects stand out:
- Online booking systems. They are done in a general way, with access to a TPV, where cybercriminals can get credit cards from customers.
- Data management. It is carried out using digital systems, such as storage clouds, which can be vulnerable if not protected.
- Leisure networks. Open access to the Internet produces a lot of traffic, which cyber-criminals take advantage of to steal, as they are not usually connected to security systems.
- Access control. Such as alarms, surveillance systems, electronic keys, etc.
- Computer and technological equipment of the hotel. They are dangerous if you access the Internet from them.
Once the risk assessment has been done, the right decisions must be made to protect the digital infrastructure of the hotel, with measures such as:
- Install appropriate software for the correct detection of malware.
- Control and limit network ports.
- Protect web browsers and email managers.
- Configure network systems such as firewalls, switches and routers.
- Control systems for access to wifi networks, also for public use.
- Control and protection of physical security systems.
- Equip backup systems for data recovery in case of attack.
- Protection of any possible communication system.
- Training of hotel staff on critical points.
These are some of the measures that must be taken to avoid the negative impact of a cyberattack.
Hotel Cybersecurity, a more than profitable investment
We have analyzed the motives of hackers to carry out a cyberattack, the disastrous consequences and how to secure hotel cyberspace.
Covering all the critical aspects of hotel cybersecurity is a necessity, which sooner or later, every hotel or hotel chain will have to meet.
Protecting the hotel from hacking involves important changes in the building infrastructure and a challenge for both owners and workers in the sector.
These changes represent an investment that will be profitable, from the first minute in which cybersecurity is activated and controlled.
The customer’s experience will be pleasant because it has covered their needs, and the reputation of the most valuable hotel, without counting on the savings, which were previously losses, produced by the attacks.
In addition, the European Data Protection Regulation obliges companies to impose security measures, which do not jeopardize the privacy of the citizen staying in the establishment.
Failure to comply with this Regulation entails fines of between 20 million euros and 4% of the volume of the company’s annual income, the higher amount being applied depending on the seriousness, duration and nature of the infringement.
Thus, hotel cybersecurity is not a question of options, but of obligations, derived from European Union regulations. Above all, it is a matter of interest to the hotel for reasons of security, economy and reputation.
If you are the owner, shareholder or manager of a hotel or chain of hotels, you should put yourself in the hands of professionals as soon as possible, who develop the cybersecurity of your company, to anticipate technological criminals. Contact ODS and increase the cybersecurity of your hotel.