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Welsh tourism industry more at risk than ever from cyber crime

As we edge out of lockdown, the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC) is urging businesses in the travel and tourism sector to get protected against cybercrime.

Welsh-based businesses are gearing up for a record-breaking summer with hundreds of thousands of bookings being made through online systems for hotel reservations, car rentals, campsites, restaurants, and cafes etc. And without the necessary protection, organisations leave themselves wide open for cybercriminals to exploit personal data and to attack networks.

Paul Peters, Director of the WCRC, which offers local businesses across Wales free tools and tips to help improve cyber resilience, said: “Over £2,000 million was spent on tourism in Wales in 2019 and with overseas summer holidays looking increasingly unlikely this year, the sector is expecting an unprecedented season.

“And yet, with so many people making their bookings online and entrusting their personal information and payment details to private holiday-letting providers, holiday parks, guest houses and hotels, it is crucial these SMEs have cybersecurity measures in place to not only protect themselves but also their customers’ details.”

Such attacks can leave a devastating impact with far-reaching effect. Businesses can suffer from a long list of serious implications, including destruction, alteration, or loss of important files, unauthorised access to sensitive data, loss of billable hours, network access and website access, as well as potential closure, to name a few.

Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, said: “As an organisation, we have had to learn the hard way, following a number of incidents relating to cyberattacks against our company. The disruptive experience has made us far more vigilant in protecting our digital assets.

“As we approach a very busy period, especially this summer, and following the lifting of many lockdown restrictions, that tourism businesses in Wales, increase their cyber awareness.”

The WCRC offers tourism providers a few points they should consider when it comes to their online protections. These include the following:

  • Back up your data regularly and keep it separate from main network
  • Use strong and unique passwords
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts
  • Enable two-factor authentication to make it impossible to get into an account with a

password alone

  • Check all devices (including mobiles) have been installed with the latest software updates
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network
  • Invest in cyber security awareness sessions for you and your staff
  • Keep auditing your security practices

For more information on the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales, its services and membership options, please visit www.wcrcentre.co.uk.

 

 

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2020