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Geben Sie in öffentlichen Netzwerken niemals sensible Daten ein, Bild: Thapana_Studio / shutterstock

Cybersecurity: the tourism sector is caught in the crossfire of hackers

These days, the number of hacker attacks on the travel and tourism sector is increasing more and more. It is therefore becoming increasingly urgent for those responsible to find a suitable prevention system.

Below, you can learn more about the impact and what it all means for individuals.

Cyber attacks in the tourism sector are on the rise

Looking back on the pandemic years, the worst seems to be over now. Nevertheless, this time is still in the bones of many. The travel industry is likely to feel the same way. The Covid 19 virus has hit them particularly hard.

However, this may not seem like it at first glance. Even at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the travel and tourism industry still contributed a total of 121.9 billion US dollars to gross domestic product. By 2028, this figure is expected to grow to 512 billion US dollars.

With these numbers, it’s no wonder that cybercriminals are also taking notice of the sector. This has been particularly evident in the last 2 years, as their attacks on the industry have become more frequent. The problem is that the attacks are not only becoming more frequent, but also becoming more sophisticated.

So the travel and tourism industry has now come to a clear conclusion: cybersecurity must become an absolute priority.

The unique challenges facing the travel and tourism industry

But it’s not just the revenue that makes the tourism sector such a popular target for hackers. For her, it is also convenient that this area is so strongly focused on the Internet. Whether it’s payments, bookings or marketing measures – almost everything takes place online here. And in the wake of the Corona pandemic, these online interactions have of course increased again. For cybercriminals, this means that they can use this industry to access sensitive data and also large sums of money.

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Safety measures that every travel and tourism company should take

If customer data is lost as a result of a hacker attack, the company in question must expect a loss of prestige and, as a result, a loss of customers, as well as high fines. Especially if the data was not sufficiently secured.

Every company should be aware of this and under no circumstances do without basic security measures. These are, for example:

  • the use of secure websites
  • the use of strong passwords
  • Using reputable antivirus programs and updating them regularly
  • Control over who has access to what data

and so on.

However, these basic security measures no longer seem to be sufficient. A sound prevention system is needed.

How consumers can protect themselves

Of course, it is the responsibility of travel and tourism companies to ensure that you can book with them safely. But everyone here is also responsible for themselves in a certain respect. After all, there’s no 100% guarantee anywhere that your data won’t fall into the wrong hands.

We’ll tell you what you need to look out for when booking a flight, hotel or anything else online.

  1. Stay away from public networks

VPN while traveling
Surf safely with VPN when traveling, Image: Kaspars Grinvalds / shutterstock

Public networks are questionable anyway when it comes to security. Therefore, they should avoid them if possible. But what you definitely shouldn’t do is enter personal information somewhere when you’re logged into a public hotspot. There are often cybercriminals there who are just waiting for them to access information.

All kinds of purchases, as well as bookings and reservations, are therefore better made via your own home network.

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2. Use a VPN

With a VPN, you create a protected network over which your data is transmitted in encrypted form. This means that all their online activities are well protected from the eyes of unauthorized persons. This way, no one can easily access their personal information. Their IP address is also not displayed.

This makes a VPN an optimal solution if you are on public networks.

3. Beware of scams

Unfortunately, you can also come across fraudulent offers in the travel sector again and again. To then have to find out on the day of arrival that you have booked accommodation that does not exist in reality is of course an absolute horror idea.

However, there are a few points where you can tell that an offer is likely to be a scam:

  • Extremely cheap offers
  • Booking via unknown travel providers
  • No personal communication with the provider
  • Imprint on the website is missing or incomplete
  • Increased negative reviews on the Internet
  • Provider provides false information about travel locations or accommodations
  • the pictures all look very professional and staged
  • any seals of approval do not lead to the exhibitor’s website

If it has actually happened and they have fallen for a scam, then it is time to act quickly. First of all, you can try to get the money you have already paid back from your bank.

Everything that has to do with the fake booking, from messages to receipts, should be kept in any case. They need this if they then file a criminal complaint with the police in the next step.

If they are still unsure whether they have fallen for a scam, they can contact the responsible consumer advice centre. Often the question can be clarified here.