Last week the Managing Director of CRIBB was asked to participate in a cybersecurity panel at the Traveltech Show 2021. Conor Byrne was more than happy to accept along with freelance journalist Mark Frary. Joining them was CEO of The IASME Consortium, Emma Philpott MBE, in what was an enlightening discussion. You can watch the entire panel on YouTube via the link at the foot of the page, or read on for the key takeaways. A full transcript of the conversation will be published next week, or you can contact us if you would like that sooner.

The Traveltech show: Formerly known as Travel Technology Europe (TTE)

TTE began life 18 years ago as a London-based exhibition designed to provide a niche platform for the travel industry. This platform enabled people to gather together and discuss leveraging technology to then enhance business efficiency and performance. In 2019, the Northstar Travel Group acquired TTE and tasked their international media brand Phocuswright with powering the event, rebranded as the Traveltech Show.

The new cybersecurity threats: how will you cope?

The Traveltech Show 2021 featured this panel, a transcript for which will be available next week. The panel was particularly relevant as security breaches are growing and wreaking havoc both financially and reputationally. There are a range of new and emerging threats around the globe, including ransomware and phishing. Digital transformation, though often lauded for the many possibilities it opens up, has also generated additional cybersecurity challenges.

The panel was chaired by Mark Frary, Co-director at Businesstravelwire and also a freelance journalist. The speakers were Conor Byrne, MD at CRIBB Cyber Security & theICEway and Emma Philpott, CEO at The IASME Consortium.

Key Takeaways

  • After 25 years of the ‘world wide web’, growing digital transformation has led to us all spending more time online
  • Covid has served to accelerate that
  • Cyber security is highly important right now as all organisations are vulnerable to ‘scatter gun’ attacks
  • It is unlikely that many travel companies will be targeted specifically but the biggest threat are general attacks that get sent out to everybody (i.e. phishing emails)
  • Cyber-criminals are investing a lot of money into their efforts
  • Equally, there are huge investments in white hat hackers to combat cyber-crime
  • Cybersecurity novices can purchase sophisticated attack materials on the dark web that can then be sent to anybody, anywhere in the world
  • Travel companies hold a lot of personal data including health, passport and Visa information. This information has to be shared across the world
  • Many smaller countries are not as cyber aware and there are different security frameworks to consider
  • A tour operator in the UK must then deal with this which means a high level of risk
  • It is not easy for a small travel company to build up a portfolio of clients and their business can be wiped out very quickly

The most important thing is to know that everyone’s data has a price and that every organisation is a potential victim

  • Ransomware and phishing attacks are very prevalent today
  • These attacks are scatter gun attacks where links are sent out to thousands of people
  • You must protect yourself against this because you’re usually an unknowing victim of this sort of attack
  • Covid has made things worse from a cybersecurity point of view
  • WFH brings home routers and how data gets between the home user and the company into question, generating many vulnerabilities
  • It is therefore crucial for companies of all sizes, in all industries, to take some basic precautions
  • Many companies have no idea that they’ve even had an incident unless they’ve done some work on cybersecurity
  • By following the Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus frameworks you will spot incidents and reduce the chance of being severely affected
  • You can check the Cyber Essentials questions for free online via the IASME website
  • Organisations such as CRIBB Cyber Security are specifically designed to help those who might not understand the questions

Other tips

  • Ensure software is patched and regularly getting updates (it is important to put updates in place within 14 days)
  • If you are using Windows XP, you might consider an alternative and more secure option
  • Organisations must consider retaining cybersecurity experts to some extent as advisers
  • You can block ransomware attacks quite effectively by following Cyber Essentials
  • Use 2FA – two factor authentication- where possible (i.e. to authenticate your Office 365 account
  • Remove local administrative rights on the PCs and computers, as this will actually block a lot of ransomware and phishing attacks
  • Action regular, verified backups
  • Be prepared.

A transcript from this panel at The Traveltech Show 2021 will be landing in our blog next week so look out for that. In the meantime, you can watch the video here – leave your comments below and we’ll get back to you.