In the digital age, cybersecurity incidents are becoming a common occurrence. A recent example is the cyber-attack on Omni Hotels & Resorts in early April, which resulted in a significant disruption to their IT system. The attack led to a complete network shutdown as the organization acted swiftly to isolate the issue, safeguard its data, and prevent further damage. This incident had a substantial impact on the hotel’s operations, including reservation management, manual unlocking of hotel room doors, and the use of point-of-sale (POS) systems in on-site restaurants and shops. The financial implications of this attack are estimated to exceed a million dollars. While the hotel has not confirmed the nature of the attack, it is speculated to be a ransomware attack, similar to the one experienced by MGM in Las Vegas.

The Omni outage was an inconvenience for many customers, but the underlying cybersecurity risks were not apparent to all. A compromised network can put every connected device at risk unless protected by high-grade cybersecurity tools. Therefore, it is crucial to approach every connection as a potential risk, especially when traveling.

Here are some tips to ensure your safety while on the road:

  1. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks at hotels, coffee shops, airport lounges, etc. Connecting to a compromised network could potentially give hackers access to your devices.
  2. Disable the auto-connect feature on your devices. This will prevent your device from automatically connecting to potentially harmful networks.
  3. Utilize your phone’s hotspot feature for internet access instead of connecting to public Wi-Fi. Most cell phones come equipped with this feature, and if not, it can often be added with a call to your wireless provider.

These tips can help protect individual travelers, but businesses must also ensure that work devices used by traveling employees have professional-grade cybersecurity tools installed. Sending your sales team to a hotel-hosted trade show should result in a list of leads, not a malware infection that could potentially shut down your company.

The Omni incident serves as a stark reminder that no company, regardless of size, is immune to cyber-attacks. Even large corporations with substantial cybersecurity budgets can fall victim to hackers. No system is 100% impenetrable, and small business owners without security measures are particularly vulnerable.

At BroCoTec, we offer a FREE Security Risk Assessment to help businesses identify potential vulnerabilities in their network and propose solutions to address them. Click here to book your Security Risk Assessment with one of our cybersecurity experts, or call our office at 832-536-9012.