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Cyber-attacks are very common nowadays in the travel and tourism industry, and it is increasing at a frightening rate. Adding to that, the tourism industry is the third most hacked sector after administration and banking. So now the question arises as to why cyberattacks are happening so frequently in this industry? The travel and tourism industry has large chunks of highly valuable customer data that are very useful for hackers/cybercriminals in the long run.
Another highly probable question is, how do these hackers/cyber criminals hack their way into this data? Hacking is a complicated process but simply what happens is that hackers/cyber criminals identify weaknesses and loopholes in systems of the travel and tourism industry, and then these weaknesses and loopholes are exploited to gain access to a significant amount of data. Most tourism-based companies depend on online platforms and booking portals to expand their business, these platforms and portals have low-security protocols in place, hence making private data vulnerable to data breaches on networks. In fact, dependence on third-party vendors makes it a lot easier for hackers/cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data.
One of the best examples of the most recent and memorable cyberattacks was the data breach experienced by Mariott International, Radisson Hotel Group, and Intercontinental Hotel Group. Because of this data breach, these giants in the tourism industry lost millions of customer data.
With all that been said, now, you must be realizing how important it is to have proper security and cybersecurity systems in place. However, many of you often assume that security and cybersecurity are the same, which is completely wrong. Security is a concept that includes all the measures and processes that are designed to safeguard all the valuable information and data of your organization. Whereas, cybersecurity is only concerned with protecting your digital information that is available in organization systems, which includes attack practices and securing cloud storage.
Now that the misunderstanding is cleared, it’s time to mention some of the best practices we have come up with for you to try out, and improve the overall security of your tourism website.
1. Schedule daily backups
When it comes to backups the frequent question that pops is, “How often do I need to backup my website? ’’. The immediate solution to this question would depend on how often you backup your website. If backups are happening daily then you need to do it every day and keep a copy of at least the past 30 days.
If you have advanced website configurations (that is if you have multiple servers that host separate functions then each server will require a different backup schedule) then you need to get a hold of an IT professional to do the backup for you.
If you are using open-source technologies like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Zen Cart, PrestaShop, to name just a few, then you need to keep in mind that there is a high chance of your website been hacked. So in order to mitigate this, you need to go for a regular backup schedule that helps you to recover data quickly in case if you encounter a cyberattack.
2. Avoid using weak user names and passwords
Weak user names and passwords are famously known security vulnerabilities and it is the best way for your website to get flagged by the scanners used by hackers/cybercriminals to identify these types of security vulnerabilities.
Note - do not use the same password across multiple services because if a security breach takes place all your digital assets will be left vulnerable to hackers /cybercriminals.
3. Use CAPTCHA and spam filter plug-ins
If your website was built using an open-source platform then for sure you must have received emails from unknown sources that have no connection with your website. In order to reduce the number of spam emails coming through use CAPTCHA to make sure that humans are filling out the necessary information. Furthermore, most open-source CMS’s (Content Management Systems) have plug-ins that are capable of filtering spam that is coming through forms. These plug-ins won’t guarantee you 100% spam removal but it is a step in the right direction.
4. Set up a firewall and enable platform-specific security measures
The first step you need to take is to enable Google Webmaster Tools in your website because Google crawls through your website to update its search index. While crawling if it detects any abnormal activities then it will flag your website. Moreover, each open-source platform has a number of firewall plug-ins that can be installed and configured to operate as an additional layer of security.
5. Use two-step authentication
This is one of the most commonly used methods that greatly improves security. For two-step authentication to be enabled you are not only required to key in your password but also go through an additional authentication method.
Usually, what happens is that a verification code is sent as an SMS to your mobile phone/email which then has to be entered in the login portal in order for you to log in and this, in turn, verifies your account. With this method, even if a breach occurs the hacker/cybercriminal will find it difficult to access your account since the verification code is with you.
6. Enable HTTPS with an SSL certificate for your website
Never forget to encrypt your website and the data that is transferred through your site. To carry out this task you can get a hold of your webmaster or an IT professional to install an SSL certificate. With this layer of protection in place, the data of both your business and the visitors/customers are protected to a great extent.
Yes, these are great methods to try out but all are in vain if your staff hasn’t been trained to not do certain things, so, make sure that you train them not to do any of the things mentioned below.
We put a lot of thought and effort into providing you with the highest level of security for your website ensuring that your data and the data of your customer /visitor are secure in every possible way.
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