National Tourism Week (22-31 May) is taking place this week and what better time to celebrate a diverse and exciting sector, as the tourism industry starts to re-open after lockdown. Yet it comes with a strong warning from the South East Cyber Resilience Centre (SECRC) which is advising businesses to stay safe this summer due to the rise in cyber crime.
The National Cyber Security Centre reports that 43% of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses and the threat is growing. And with English tourism making up 80% of the UK’s visitor economy, it certainly looks like there’s plenty of scope for cyber criminals to do their worst.
With a recent Airbnb top 10 report on trending staycation locations placing Bosham and East Wittering in Sussex in 4th and 10th place respectively. The South East region has a vast range of travel, leisure and tourism destinations, including Windsor Castle, the historical city that is Oxford, Thorpe Park, the New Forest to name just a few.
Justin Torgout, Director for the SECRC advises tourist operators that improving their cyber resilience is imperative to keeping their business safe. “Organisations working in tourism, leisure as well as hospitality are increasingly becoming targets of cybercriminals and in fact face a unique set of challenges compared to other sectors.
“Hotels, for example, provide a huge scope of opportunity for, attacks, as vast amounts of data is constantly being collected. Whether it’s highly sensitive and valuable information on their customers to managing large supply chains and financial transactions, any vulnerability in software systems is what these criminals are looking to sabotage.”
And it’s not just hotels, millions of people will be making their bookings online and entrusting their personal information and payment details to private holiday-letting providers, holiday parks, guest houses and many more tourist hotspots. It is therefore crucial these SMEs have cybersecurity measures in place to not only protect themselves but also their customers’ details.
The SECRC recommends that businesses follow these cyber resilience good practice tips, with more to be found on the SECRC website.
· Backing up your data
· Use strong passwords to protect your data
· Secure your wifi network
· Invest in cyber security training sessions for you and your staff
· Keep auditing your security practices
Established in 2020, The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East (SECRC) offers a range a membership options depending on what level of support businesses in Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire need.
Businesses in the South East can sign up for a free Core Membership online and receive a welcome pack full of practical resources and tools that will help you identify your risks and vulnerabilities and the steps you can take to increase your levels of protection. Through your membership, you will also get regular updates on new threats, designed to help you stay safer.