Time 7 mins read

Threats To The Travel Industry After The Pandemic And How To Deal With Them


Summary: Business and leisure travel came to a halt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As vaccinations roll out in 2021, the hospitality industry will assuredly bounce back. Recent trends show that travellers are already thronging to places where lockdowns have been lifted. Threat actors are likely to exploit this renewed interest in tourism to target travellers, tour operators, and hotels for monetary gains. Attacks on their networks and data breaches can lead to more issues for travel companies after the losses they’ve already suffered for more than a year.

The unlock phase across Indian states after vaccination drives and a dip in pandemic cases reinvigorated the travel industry. There is a sudden rise in families flocking to hill stations, beaches, and other tourism destinations. This “revenge travel” was a natural reaction to break free from the tediousness of lockdowns.

International business travel is also likely to resume as some countries have eased restrictions and are allowing people with negative COVID tests and vaccination records to enter their political boundaries.

While trends like these will set the cash registers ringing for hotels, airlines, car rental companies and travel agencies, they also bring in a bunch of new risks. And these are not limited to the sparking of the pandemic’s third wave.

Threat actors are ready to use this renewed interest in tourism as an opportunity to steal personal and financial details from entities that are busy rebuilding their businesses. They constantly try to identify vulnerabilities in travel companies’ networks, websites, mobile apps, custom software systems, and devices for data breaches and malware attacks.

Over the past few years, several organisations, including some with global operations, have been targeted by cybercriminals who exploited the loopholes in their security protocols for monetary gains. In 2018, British Airways experienced a major data breach whereby the personal and credit card details of over 4,00,000 travellers were stolen. The company was also penalised with a fine of ₤20 million in October 2020 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for its failure to protect customer data.

Considering the instances in India, there was an unusual ransomware attack on the computer system of The Piccadily – a five-star hotel in Lucknow. The hackers locked important files used by the hotel staff and demanded a huge ransom to grant access.

Mitigating cyber threats in the travel industry

As travel enterprises welcome back their customers and manage the growing mound of their data, they must take concrete steps to maintain its integrity. This is necessary not only to preserve their brand reputation and gain customer trust, but also to secure the very IT infrastructure that helps them improve their networking abilities and win market share.

Besides, the only way for these companies to keep their own business data safe is to deploy relevant security protocols.

Tata Tele Business Services offers scalable threat intelligence and cybersecurity systems for organisations of all sizes in the hospitality sector. These have been thoroughly tested against the realities of online threats and are managed to stay attuned to cybercriminals’ changing tactics

Our solutions include:

Email Security

Your hotel or travel agency receives hundreds of emails from customers and partner organisations for inquiries, payment notifications, special requests, and service reviews. As the number of such messages increases with the growth of tourism, many can be from hackers and may carry malicious content.

TTBS’ Email Security optimises the safety of email usage on all platforms, including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and on-premises servers. It uses FirstWave Cloud Technology’s ESP™, Cisco-based ESA/IronPort and Advanced Malware Protection technologies. These are highly rated by Gartner, IDC, & Radicati and enable defence against complex persistent threats and ransomware attacks.

The solution defends emails from malware, ransomware, phishing, viruses, and spam. It also identifies and blocks advanced persistent threats such as spear phishing, whaling, typo domain, and spoofing attacks.

Endpoint Security

The personal devices used by your employees can become an entry point for threats attacking the organisation’s network. Centralised security solutions are insufficient in such cases as the cyber threat landscape is obscure and shifts constantly.

By leveraging TTBS’ Endpoint Security, you can secure the endpoints of all laptops, mobiles, and tablets used to access your network. The solution defends your IT system controls and data against ransomware, malware, spyware, and phishing attacks. It also brings advanced web filtering, email filtering, antivirus, and firewall protection abilities.

With Endpoint Security, it is easy to access documents and databases without the disruptions injected by threat actors. Your organisation also avoids the downtime caused by compromises on devices’ operating systems.

TTBS Endpoint Security is simple to configure and has value-for-money pricing due to its multitenant architecture.

Multiactor Authentication

Verifying users before permitting them to access your business network and confidential databases is essential to safeguard the organisation’s digital assets. Although username and password combination is a convenient mechanism to authenticate identity, the security of this approach is inherently flawed.

Poor password hygiene practices, such as using the same password for multiple apps or choosing a simple password magnify data theft risk. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is used to counter such issues.

TTBS MFA is a zero-trust security tool that helps you to ensure that users who access your network or use your IT assets are who they claim to be. It is simple to install on any device and lets you select the authentication processes as per your workflows

Checking user credentials makes it easier to prevent any compromise on the servers, apps, devices, and networks otherwise locked only with passwords.

Virtual firewall

As your employees work in virtualised environments using cloud resources, it becomes important to check the safety of the web content they access and the third-party applications they use in daily operations. When the number of bookings increases, you must also avert the entry of bot traffic into your website and apps.

With TTBS virtual firewall, you can enable a thorough inspection of online resources and traffic to block threats in real-time. The tool is more advanced than physical firewalls and minimises and accelerates responses against potential cyberattacks. It also streamlines your local area network and helps you tailor the security management as per business requirements.

The virtual firewall service comes with user-identity control, antivirus, anti-spyware, DDoS protection, data filtering, and malicious file-blocking features, among others.

Web Security

Your company may be using travel aggregator websites or online travel agencies to get new customers. However, with the rising number of such portals, it can be difficult to segregate genuine brands from impersonators.

By deploying TTBS’ Web Security, you create an effective line of defence against online threats. The solution offers detailed visibility into the activities on digital devices used by your employees – on and off LAN – and helps them stay away from fake websites and looming threats. All cyberthreats are blocked before they penetrate your network or harm your devices.

Designed using a mix of leading global cybersecurity technologies, Web Security determines the intent of all kinds of web requests, URLs, and files. And yet, it is non-intrusive to use. It also provides detailed reports on the threats blocked and supports bespoke IT security policy implementation in offices.

Apart from these cybersecurity solutions, TTBS offers Secure Cloud Connect – an MPLS channel to help your business establish a direct private connection with the cloud services that you use daily. It helps you secure your data on a private network even as you use public platforms like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, MS Azure, IBM Softlayer, and Oracle Cloud.

It’s time to take action

Cyber threats are real challenges for the hospitality industry. And to keep their business resilient against these problems, travel companies must stay ahead of the tactics used by hackers.

With managed security solutions by TTBS and regular staff training on the usage of IT assets, you can create better travel experiences for your customers and maintain the trust they place in your brand.

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