Another cyber-attack!  Omni Hotels & Resorts encountered a significant cyber-attack in early April, resulting in a complete IT system failure and subsequent company-wide outage. Responding swiftly, the organization took immediate measures to mitigate the situation, including shutting down the entire network to contain the issue, safeguard data integrity, and prevent further compromise. Regrettably, this course of action had substantial repercussions on the hotel’s day-to-day operations, such as managing reservations manually, resorting to manual methods for unlocking hotel room doors, and discontinuing the use of point-of-sale systems in hotel restaurants and shops. Initial estimates project the financial impact of this attack to surpass a million dollars. Though unconfirmed by the hotel, there is speculation from various sources suggesting that the nature of the cyber-attack may resemble a ransomware incident akin to what occurred at MGM in Las Vegas several months prior.

While many patrons felt the effects of the Omni outage, not all are fully cognizant of the inherent risks associated with cyber-attacks. When a network becomes compromised, absent robust security measures, every device connected to it becomes vulnerable. Particularly when traveling, exercising caution is paramount to ensure personal safety. In this article, we’re sharing a couple of strategies to bolster security while on the move, be it for business or leisure:

Don’t connect to the public Wi-Fi network in the hotel. This includes refraining from connecting to the public Wi-Fi offered by hotels, coffee shops, airport lounges, and similar venues. Public networks, if compromised, you could be giving hackers access to your devices.

Disable auto-connect features on devices. Even if one do not actively joining the hotel’s Wi-Fi network, enabling auto-connect features poses risks, as devices may automatically connect to rogue or fake networks established by malicious actors. Disable this feature to ensure greater control over network connections, allowing users to manually connect to trusted sources.

Utilize personal hotspots where feasible. In lieu of relying on potentially compromised public Wi-Fi networks, leverage the personal hotspot feature available on most smartphones. If unavailable, you can contact your wireless provider to activate this feature to serve as a secure alternative.

While these practices contribute to enhanced security, it is imperative for businesses, particularly those with employees who frequently travel, to equip their devices with enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions. Failure to do so may expose organizations to significant risks, ranging from data breaches to operational disruptions. Notably, the Omni incident underscores a critical lesson for businesses across all scales: the threat of cyber-attacks transcends organizational size. Even large entities like Omni, boasting an extensive nationwide presence, are susceptible. Consequently, small and medium businesses without adequate security measures are particularly vulnerable targets.

If you don’t have a cybersecurity system in place, or if you do and someone else is managing it but you’d like a second opinion, we offer complimentary Security Risk Assessments. Through this assessment, we thoroughly evaluate the network infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and propose tailored solutions to mitigate potential risks.

Click here to book your Security Risk Assessment with one of our cybersecurity experts, or call our office at (843) 418-4792.