Travel cyber risks ‘rising exponentially’

Travel cyber risks ‘rising exponentially’

Cyber resilience has become “fundamental” to travel, but there is insufficient perception of the risks according to a leading specialist in disaster management.

Professor Lee Miles of Bournemouth University’s Disaster Management Centre in the UK told the Resilience Through Tourism Summit in Jordan in June: “Risk is rising exponentially.

“Cybersecurity is becoming more and more problematic. It is a disaster if networks go down even for a few hours.

“Yet we don’t have sufficient risk perception in travel and tourism. We have movement in terms of technology and behaviour, but we don’t have corresponding movement in security.”

Miles insisted: “The cyber resilience of travel and tourism is fundamentally important.

“Most systems are required to be always on and there is an expectation they will be secure. If you don’t ensure they are, you suffer huge reputational damage.”

He said: “We have to build contingency plans [and] investment in staff is a priority. But there is a split between having the technology and commitment to train personnel.”

Miles told the summit: “The move to Big Data and the Internet of Things worries me intensely. It is connecting systems and we need the connections to be secure. It creates a single point of failure.”

He added “Public-private partnership resilience [in the industry] has to be complimentary and seamless and we are not anywhere near that.”

Ramy Kheder, Mastercard director for enterprise security solutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, highlighted rapid advances in the biometric authentication of transactions through facial recognition, voice recognition and thumb prints.

He told the Summit: “We need to be two steps ahead of the fraudsters. We need to secure transactions and ensure the whole end-to-end experience is secure.

“But security is only as strong as the weakest link.”

Kheder said: “Everybody says ‘let’s have standards’, but this does not apply only to banks – it applies to anyone facilitating financial transactions [in travel].”

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