With the start of summer vacation begins a busy travel season. Along with the adventures and trips many Americans will take this summer, come hacking risks as your personal information and digital security become vulnerable when you’re traveling. Gary Davis of McAfee said, “we saw a 1,200% increase in malware targeting Android devices just in the first quarter of this year.” But it’s not just Android users that fall victim to a cyber hack as many others are exposed to these crimes on a daily basis.
Security Vulnerabilities You Need To Know About Before Traveling
The Federal Trade Commission recently warned against allowing smartphones to interface with the onboard computers of rental cars, because this could expose your personal information to future renters as well as hackers. Many new cars used by rental companies are basically moving computers. Their systems ask for permission to be connected to your mobile device. It’s best to say no and treat it as a potential risk.
Unsecured airport, hotel or restaurant connections are also sources of danger for your data and should be avoided. It is safer to use your phone’s cellular connection or hotspot. Likewise, do not use public computers to log into any personal accounts. Doing this leaves your information vulnerable and trackable. Since anyone can connect to these free, unsecured networks, anyone can also see what’s going across them.
By way of example, the FBI reported incidents of travels encountering fake software updates which popped up when they used a hotel connection. The ‘update’ was really a malicious software which was then installed on their computer.
Another thing you should know is that the free USB charging stations at the airport are not safe and may be infected with something called ‘juice hacking,’ which basically takes over your device and is able to access your private information. The risk comes from unencrypted networks which expose your username and password to hackers.
When traveling, it is best to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your devices so that they don’t try to automatically connect you to these unsafe networks. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network which creates a secure encrypted way to use the internet.
Travel and Hospitality Industry at Major Risk
The data breach trends in recent years show that the hospitality industry is the single most vulnerable sector. Hotels are easy targets for cyber criminals as they hold a very large database of customer information. Millennium Hotels, Omni Hotels & Resorts, and Hard Rock Las Vegas have fallen victim in the recent years, just to name a few.
Despite being at major cyber hacking risk, hospitality businesses have failed in utilizing modern security practices. This only makes it easier for hackers to get what they need. More serious measures need to be taken.
Many organizations use Massive Alliance as a resource. This company has assisted travel and hospitality businesses in assessing data theft risk, stopping impending threats when located, and preventing cyber attacks along with the damage they cause to usual business operations, not to mention company reputation.
Any company operating in the travel industry must use whatever means are available to them to mitigate and act to eliminate security incidents that violate security standards. Massive Alliance can help you address internal and external areas of concern such as unauthorized access to hotel systems, credit card information leaks, malicious software, hotel customer data sold on the black market, online hotel scams, fake reviews, and many other crimes.