Hotels vs. Hackers: What You Need to Know

Every now and then you need to travel for work. You don't mind. In fact, you kind of like it. You jet around the country, explore different cities, order food on the company's dime and meet with prospective clients to grow your brand. After a long day, you retire to your hotel room for a little privacy and relaxation.

But is your hotel room really as safe and secure as you think it is? It might surprise you to learn that hotels are a hot target for hackers. Sure, data breach insurance coverage from CyberPolicy can protect your business from financial harm brought on by cyber crooks, but it's undeniably better to avoid an incident in the first place.

Below are a few of the methods of incursion used by hotel hackers and what you can do to thwart their efforts.

Point-of-Sale Scams
To understand an attacker, you need to understand their motivations. And a lot of hackers are motivated by only one thing - money.

In an effort to steal funds, hackers uploaded a form of malware to payment card systems in 1,174 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) franchise hotels in the United States. This is the second data breach revealed by the U.K.-based company, which owns Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, this year.

The malware was used to pilfer credit card numbers, the cardholder's name, expiration dates and internal verification codes; which were then used to make phony charges elsewhere.

EMV chips were developed to combat their threat, but the transition hasn't been without its hiccups. Hotels ought to examine their POS terminals for malware and update their security features as necessary.

Digital Eavesdroppers
However, more sophisticated attackers might be more interested in stealing your data than your money. Take, for example, the digital eavesdroppers. These crafty crooks often exploit public Wi-Fi in a manner that allows them to spy on hotels guests. Essentially the hacker positions their computer or malware as a "man in the middle" who sees all information travel to and from a user's device. Depending on what you are doing, the hacker could see your work emails, file transfers and payment information.

If you are traveling for work, be extra careful when using public Wi-Fi. A virtual private network or VPN should prevent hackers from eavesdropping on your communications.

"Hotels have long been a more than attractive target for cyberattackers," says independent cybersecurity analyst Randy Abrams. He goes on to say that this problem is exacerbated by high-level targets such as CEOs or political figures.

For instance, President Donald Trump regularly uses Mar-a-Lago (aka the "Southern White House") for meetings with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. But research shows that the private club is severely lacking in many cyber defense protocols. According to TechNewsWorld, a spy could capture audio, video or images of classified meetings.

Of course, hotels and resorts are also vulnerable to ransomware, data breach and social engineering scams. To stymie these hacks and more, hotels need to invest in the latest cybersecurity software and hardware, teams of dedicated IT professionals and data breach insurance coverage.

Even if your defenses are beat by an especially clever hacker, CyberPolicy can protect you from financial damages, business downtime and class-action lawsuits resulting from the attack. So, what are you waiting for? Visit CyberPolicy today!

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