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Thought Leadership

Are Cyber Attacks A Real Threat to Travel Safety?

by James Barton / February 9, 2019

Recently I was asked on my opinion on whether I thought Cyber Attacks posed a real and genuine threat to Travel Safety.

Without question, my answer is yes!

Cyber attacks can come in many different forms and can vary hugely in how they may impact your Travel Safety. Let’s looks at two examples of cyber attacks with different degrees of significance and impact.

 

Scenario 1 – Phishing Attack

Phishing is a localised security attack where someone is trying to get access to your personal data. Most people would be familiar with this sort of attack and they are normally focused on accessing bank accounts etc.

From a Travel Safety perspective, there are a number of different ways this may impact you. For example, if someone was successful in getting your bank details, it may be possible for them to empty your account, fill up your credit cards or render your current cards invalid. If you were dependent on those to pay for taxis, accommodation etc, this could put you at significant risk.

But phishing is not only isolated to financial exploitation. By gaining access to your accounts it could also be possible for an attacker to access your travel itinerary, your flights, hotels and even your transfer details. As you can imagine, all of these could put you at risk.

 

Scenario 2 – Infrastructure attack

More sophisticated attacks focus on infrastructure rather than an individual. For example, a cyber attack could infiltrate air traffic control, railway signalling and even road traffic signals.

Once ‘in’, the attacker could then use the systems to disrupt services, or even cause fatal collisions (I am sure we all remember Die Hard 2). I know it sounds far-fetched, but with travel infrastructure being so dependent on technology, it is not hard to see how this may become a reality.

 

So What Can You Do?

With infrastructure attacks, there is not much you personally can do to prevent the attack, but you can greatly reduce the risk if you are prepared. For example, if you have taken Travel Safety training, like the eTS Academy, you would have learnt some of the fundamentals of how to travel safely, including what to do in emergency situations.

However, there are several things you can do to avoid attacks like phishing. Here are a few tips:

1. Keep Informed About Phishing Techniques– This is hard because there is a lot of fake news around scams, but speak to your company IT team and ask them what attacks they are aware of. Many IT administrators keep a list of common scams.

2. Think Before You Click!– Make sure you know where the link is going. Check to make sure the domain name of the link is the same as the company you think you are visiting. It is very easy to click on something that looks real and is not. If you are in any doubt, do not click.

3. Change your password regularly and make sure they are secure- Using password managers like Dashlane allows you to have a different password for different accounts. Far too many people use the same memorable password for multiple accounts giving a successful attacker access to all of you accounts. Change them every 90 days and make sure they contain letters, numbers and special characters.

4. Be Wary of Pop-Ups– These sneaky little fellows often contain code that could put you at risk. By default, turn your browser pop-up blocker on and only allow pop-ups on sites you trust.

5. Never Give Out Personal Information– As a general rule, you should never share personal or financially sensitive information over the Internet. If in doubt call the company!

6. Use Antivirus/Malware Software– Do not assume your computer or device comes with built in software. It may do, but it likely to be insufficient. Make sure your IT department have advised you on what to install and then make sure it stays up to date.

Like everything in Travel Safety, we don’t need to be scared of a possible attack, but we can be prepared and help to reduce the risk and possible impact to you.


Here at eTravelSafety we are focused on providing Travel Safety to everyone. If you are interested in learning more about us and the products we provide, please visit www.etravelsafety.com or email info@etravelsafety.com.

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.