Cyber security in Las Vegas casinos

Cyber security in Las Vegas casinos 

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to analyze cyber security and security practices ofelectronic information and network system, network threats, and techniques to prevent the cyber

attacks in hotels. Helping the information technology directors and chief information officers

(CIO) is the aim of this study to advance policy for security of electronic information in hotels

and suggesting some techniques and tools to secure the computer networks. This research is

completely qualitative while the case study and interviews have done in 5 random hotels in

Reno, Nevada, United States of America. The interview has done with 50 hotel guests, 10 front

desk employees, 3 IT manager and 2 assistant of General manager. The results show that hotels’cyber security is very low and hotels are very vulnerable in this regard and at the end, theimplications and contribution of the study is mentioned.

INTRODUCTION

“Modern societies have become increasingly dependent on Information and Communication

Technologies that offer both opportunities and challenges with respect to improvements in the

quality of life of people and the communities in which they live” (Muata, Bryson, Vogel, 2014,

p.93). Technology in hospitality industry is driven by the increasing transaction volumes,

complex reporting requirement, and international communication needs (Cobanoglu, &

Demicco, 2007). Information technology (IT) can improve almost all areas of hospitality

industry, such as guest services, reservations, food and beverage management, sales, food servicecatering, maintenance, security, and hospitality accounting (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Having high technology causes a lot of data breach and information loss. To prevent against

losses, organizations observe their computer network for security threats from a wide range of

sources, such as computer-assisted fraud, espionage, sabotage, vandalism, hacking, system

failures, fire, and flood (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). To protect the public trust and to

prevent copycat hackers to hack into an organization’s computer system, most of the

organizations try not to reveal the data breaches and cyber attacks against their computer systems(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). 

Problem Statement

Every level of hotel management (e.g., property level, user level) involves computer networks.

At the property level, there are local area networks where reservation, front office, payroll,

accounting, restaurant management, human resources, and other systems are located (Cobanoglu&Cougias, 2003). At the user level, the user browse the hotel website to make reservations andto access the information about the hotel (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). This level ofinteraction in a network environment increases the vulnerability of computer systems toinformation and network security threats as any unencrypted information transmitted on

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) can be sniffed by unauthorized people

(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). The IT security problem exacerbates as most of the people in

hotels who deal with computer systems (e.g., front office managers and accountants) are not IT

experts and have only some familiarity with computer systems (Cobanoglu, 2005). Cyber risk is

becoming an increasing issue for many organizations and businesses, including hospitality

industry, as new advances in computing systems emerge, such as cloud computing, social media,and big data. 

Questions of this research and the purpose of study

The purpose of this study is to analyze cyber security and security practices of electronic

information and network system, network threats, and techniques to prevent the cyber attacks inhotels. Helping the information technology directors and chief information officers (CIO) is theaim of this study to advance policy for security of electronic information in hotels and suggestingsome techniques and tools to secure the computer networks.

The following research questions were created:

  1. What methods, tools and techniques are currently used in hotels regarding computer networkand system protection?
  2. What are the current threats to computer network security in hotels?
  3. What are the ways of handling security attacks in the hotel’s computer networks?
  4. What is the importance of network security in hotels?
  5. Which methods hotels leverage to secure their websites for any data and financial transactions?
  1. What criteria hotels have to consider in making a strong password for their computer networks and logins (computers and websites)?

LITERATURE REVIEW

Information technology (IT) is the science and technology of using computers and other

electronics to save and transmit information (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). This informationcan include variety of data, such as sales, customers, market, stocks and shares, accounts,airplane tickets, and booking (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Organizations that use IT need to tackle and administer electronic information safely andsecurely (Daler et al., 1989). The organization’s administrative managers are responsible for theprotection of the organization’s assets and information (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Like other organizations, IT systems in hotels comprise of both software and hardware. The

basic software in a hotel includes the property management system (PMS), point of sale system

(POS), call accounting system (CAS), and accounting system. The basic hardware in a hotel

include front desk computers, POS terminals, back office computers, printers, routers, switches,

firewalls, and network cables (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). The front and back office

computers, POS terminals, and printers are connected to routers and switches with network

cables that enable communication between these devices (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Routers also connect the hotel network with other networks and the Internet (Cobanoglu, &

Demicco, 2007). The firewalls protect the hotel network from outside attacks (Cobanoglu, &

Demicco, 2007). The hotel’s local area network (LAN) typically consists of devices within the

hotel’s premises (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Hospitality Industry and its Computer System

Most of the computing systems are connecty computer networks to enable variety of

applications, such as database sharing and shared storage (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Thehospitality industry uses the computer networks to manage reservations while avoiding duplexreservations for the same date and time (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). The hospitality industryuses two main types of computer networks: local area network (LAN) and wide area network(WAN) (Collins et al., 2003).

Computer Network and Information Security

Information security aims at maximizing the revenue of organizations and investments byminimizing the damage that could be caused by security attacks (Computer Fraud & Security,2002). Most of the information security systems provide three main services: confidentiality,integrity and availability (ISO, 2000).

Organizations using IT are vulnerable to various security threats and attacks. The most commonthreats include viruses, inside attackers for network access, laptop theft, spoofing, unauthorizedinsider access, unauthorized outside attack, and denial of service attacks (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Computer crimes have always been there since the introduction of computers, however, thenature of attacks varies as the technology evolves (Beaulier Law Office, 2003). For instance,hacking or cracking is the crime of connecting to a computer system without permission(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Most of the hacking attacks are aimed at obtaining confidentialinformation (e.g., financial information of banking accounts, user accounts information) withoutauthorization (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Theft of technology occurs when an attackerconsciously connects to a computer with intentions to steal technological information or secrets(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Fraud happens when an attacker consciously connects to acomputer with intentions of fraud or masquerades a legitimate user of the computer system(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Hacking, theft of technology, and frauds are the most commonsecurity attacks whereas other security attacks are also possible (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). 

Information Security Tools and Techniques

Information security aims at protecting valuable assets from disclosure or damage (Cobanoglu,

&Demicco, 2007).This protection can be attained through both technological and nontechnologicalmethods, such as physical security of assets, user identification and authentication,

biometrics, and firewalls (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). We define some of the network andinformation security tools and techniques in the following:

  1. Digital IDs are the electronic counterparts of driver’s licenses, passports, and membershipcards (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Digital IDs often include a username and a password.
  2. Intrusion Detection System is a system that analyzes the events happening in a computersystem or a network for detecting intrusions or attacks (Judge, 2003). An intrusion can bedefined as an effort to circumvent security services employed by the system, such asconfidentiality and integrity (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). Many times intrusions are aimed atmaking the computer system unavailable (denial of service attack). Intrusions can be caused byvarious means: (1) attackers connecting to the systems from the Internet or outside networks; (2)authorized users of the systems who try to obtain additional privileges for which they are notauthorized; and (3) authorized users who misuse and abuse the privileges given to them(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).
  3. Physical Security refers to keeping the networking and computing equipment in a securephysical environment (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).
  4. Firewall can be a hardware, a software or combination of hardware and software equipment tomonitor the traffic between two or more computer networks (CERT, 2005). The firewall can alsoblock particular malicious packets trying to enter a computer network.
  5. Encryption is the process of hiding the information by making the information transformed ina way that is impossible or very hard to understand (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).
  6. Biometrics is technology of authenticating a user based on physical or behavioral

characteristics, such as finger prints, voice recognition, and retina or iris identification. Biometrictechnology is one of the most effective methods of identity verification (Bilgihan, Karadag,Cobanoglu, Okumus, n.d.). The biometric systems measure the physical characteristics of anindividual, and compare them with the recorded characteristics to verify the user’s identity(Flink, 2002).

  1. Access Control are techniques of restricting usage of system resources to authorized

users/processes(Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

  1. “Vulnerability Assessment Scan is a software that scans/examines the system for possiblevulnerabilities” (i.e., weaknesses) and inform the system administrator of these vulnerabilities sothat system can be safeguarded against these weaknesses (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Attackers can be from both inside and outside an organization (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Especially in hospitality and tourism industry where turnover rate is very high, the possibility ofinside attackers is higher in comparison to other industries (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007).

Consequently, some organizations, such as Burger King Corporation, take measurements to

prevent inside attackers, and provide infrastructure to ensure only a single sign-on by an

employee (Liddle, 2003). In this case, only one record needs to be expunged from the system in

case of an employee’s termination or resignation from an employee so that the former employee

will not have any access to the system (Cobanoglu, &Demicco, 2007). 

Cyber Risks and Challenges in Hospitality Industry

There are five major risks and challenges that hotels have faced during 2015 and they stillcontinue, according to Hiller (January 23, 2015). These five challenges are: “ 1. Identity theftleading to credit card fraud which has caused a lot of data breaches and information stealingfrom hotel’s network systems, 2. Silent invasions and Cyber-crime attacks that are powerfultactics from next generation criminals, During 2015, there are lots of cyber criminals who havetargeted and attacked the hotels’ Wi-Fi and get the guests’ personal information as well as theirpasswords. 3. Unfortunately there are no security audit cycles in majority of the hotels and thisissue will put the situation of the investors and the guests in a highly risk. 4. Physical crimes liketerrorism that put the hotels in challenge and it can be more seen in South Asia and Middle East.

  1. Loss of competitive advantage and image as well as lots of negative words of mouth is otherchallenges that hotels have faced due to the cybersecurity attacks” (Hiller, 2015).

One of the unique features of hospitality industry is being a place for their customers’ comfortand confidence; thus it is basically rely on this reputation and abusing the customers’ informationdoesn’t make any sense in this regard.

Unfortunately the reality shows that this confidence and reputation can’t be achieved easily dueto the estimation of annual cost of cyber crime that can affect the global economy as much as$375 billion to $575 billion and these numbers are still growing according to Butler ((January 15,2016), due to greater technology available in the market for cyber attackers that makes thehotels’ system more and more vulnerable.

In this regard, hotels are also not completely innocent and without fault; because they can do alot to prevent these cyber attacks; for example in the case of data breach which happened toWyndham hotels, after the investigation, many mistakes were revealed which was made by theIT managers of whoever was in charge of taking care of information technology system andcomputers. Some of those mistakes according to Butler ((January 15, 2016), are mentionedbelow:

  • “failed to use readily available security measures, such as firewalls
  • stored credit card information in clear text
  • failed to implement reasonable information security procedures prior to connecting localcomputer networks to corporate-level networks
  • failed to address known security vulnerabilities on servers
  • used default user names and passwords for access to servers
  • failed to require employees to use complex user IDs and passwords to access company servers
  • failed to inventory computers to appropriately manage the network
  • failed to maintain reasonable security measures to monitor unauthorized computer access
  • failed to conduct security investigations
  • failed to reasonably limit third-party access to company networks and computers”

With what was mentioned above, we will understand that some of these cyber attacks can beprevented by hoteliers; however these cyber crimes will not come to the end here since cyberattackers will find new ways to penetrate customers’ information and take advantage of them.

One of the most famous ways to get into customers’ account information is opening a newwebsite and pretend to be the hotel that the customer looks for by using the same brand name,logo, map, picture and all other information that belong to the real hotel (Mest, October 6,2015).

According to Mest (October 6,2015) this process is called fake booking which The AmericanHotel & Lodging Association reported that, each minute there are about 480 fake online hotelbooking website are creating and it is an amazing place for cyber criminals to take advantage.

Data breaches in the world of business continuously increase and they remind us of how having asecure system, taking action on cyber risks and implementing different security tools are criticaland necessary for any business (MASTER, October 8, 2015). According to MASTER (October8, 2015), not having enough knowledge and in most cases (%80) not having any knowledge at allis the biggest mistake, which is made by business owners. Therefore, as long as businessesdoesn’t have any idea about how to secure their business, hackers and cyber attackers will havemore opportunity to take advantage of this issue which is like an easy treasure for them to gain.

In addition, hackers and attackers are not only able to abuse the computer system of the hotels byusing different type of phishing email, viruses and etc., but also they are able to attack and takeadvantage of Wi-Fi in the hotels (Clark, April 13, 2015). Most of the hotels now a days offer freeWi-Fi to their guests and the guests will access to the same network all over the hotel such aslobby, convention center, dinning room and all other places within the hotel (Clark, April 13,2015). This is one of the advantages of the hotels however it can seriously cost a lot for thehotels (Clark, April 13, 2015). According to Clark (April 13, 2015), in some of the cases whichare reported, the router that was infected by hackers plus the ANTLabsInnGate (“Speciallydesigned for the hospitality sector, the ANTlabsInnGate meets the High Speed Internet Access(HSIA) needs of hotels and service apartments, while allowing hoteliers to roll out free HSIAWiFi that pays for itself.”(InnGate3, n.d.)), were associated with the hotel’s propertymanagement system so that hackers and cyber attackers could easily access to whatever theywant to know about the hotels such as customers information, database, property payroll systemand a lot more (InnGate3, n.d.)). Furthermore, by taking advantage of hotels’ Wi-Fi, hackersoffer “updates” for software that are famous such as Adobe Reader or Flash Player so that theusers won’t hesitate to update their software and then those updates contain malware thatcriminals use to get all the usernames, passwords or any other important information from users’computer or smartphone (Noone, August 5, 2015). Based on this fact, Noone (August 5, 2015)suggested a couple of tips and advices for hotel customers while being in travel and especially inthe hotel such as not using online banking on public computers and public Wi-Fi, not access or inthe case of emergency, access your email inbox by creating a throwaway email address, prevent

your computer or smartphone from automatically connection to any unknown Wi-Fi, instead ofsaving sensitive information on the laptop or smartphone, use remote desktops.

Interestingly, in most of the cases, the software that is used by hackers and cyber criminals, is nota new software and it can be even up to 10-year old software and unfortunately due to ignoranceof the hotels and not updating their system, even sometimes this software can be taken advantageof by previous contractors that hotels hired for their information technology support (Greenberg,February 2, 2010).

Another issue, which is related to hotels cyber security and customers’ information safety, is thematter of loyalty programs. According to Friedland (September 10, 2015), in several of studiesthat have done so far, most of the loyal customers were not ready to consider to be a loyalcustomer of the same hotel again after the hotel experienced breach. For any brand, loyalcustomers are gifts and very valuable assets that the company should always try to keep(Friedland, September 10, 2015). In addition, it is very cheaper to keep a loyal customer than tomake new customers for the brand. Thus, all hotels must do their best to keep them satisfied bysecuring their information and protect them from cyber attackers (Friedland, September 10,2015). The possibility of taking advantage from loyal customers’ information is much more thanany other customers since due to lots of loyalty programs, loyal customers’ profile have moredetails and information in itself which makes it more interesting for cyber attackers to be curiousabout and try to take advantage of (Friedland, September 10, 2015); In this case theresponsibility of hoteliers is more about loyal customers while protecting their information andsecure their experience (Friedland, September 10, 2015). Regarding that, according to Friedland(September 10, 2015), IT manager or GM of the hotels can do a couple of things to strengthenthen security regarding protecting loyal customers’ information and data:

  1. “Giving them information about the possibility of being hacked by cyber attackers andalarm them to regularly change their password and avoid having the same password forseveral websites. Also inform them to check their account activity more often and rewardthem for being securely active as well as practicing secure ways to use their account.
  2. Sending them an automatic email and notify them in case of changing the password orlogin to their account, so in this case if they haven’t logged in to their account andreceived an email regarding that, they can immediately be aware of abuse and report it.
  3. Empowering the system to have a two-factor authentication so that for logging intoaccounts, people require to submit the security code that they will receive on the sameemail address or phone number that they provided before while they were singing up tothe website. Therefore, in case of abusing, cyber attackers will not be able to access to theaccount as long as they don’t know the email address or phone number that the accountwas registered. Even if they know the phone number or the email address, they will nothave the actual phone or the password of the email address to enter and get the passcode.” 

DSS PCI Compliance level

In addition to all that, any organization and industry that works with credit card must accept therisks and cost of fraud in doing business (How credit-card transactions just got dicier for hotels,October 29, 2015). Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) helps a lot tosecure the credit card, debit card and cash transactions and protect them from fraud and misuseby determining some policies and procedure (How credit-card transactions just got dicier forhotels, October 29, 2015). The PCI DSS was created on 2004 jointly by the four major creditcard companies, which are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express (Rouse, n.d.).

According to Amazon Web Services (n.d.), all organizations that process the credit cardinformation are require to be certified regardless of their deployment model. Having a PCL DSScertification requires the organizations to develop and maintain a secure network. It also requiresprotecting the cardholder data and information as well as maintaining a vulnerabilitymanagement program. Furthermore, organizations require to implement the strong securitymeasures and frequently test, control and monitor networks and finally maintain an informationsecurity policy (Amazon Web Services, n.d.)

There are different levels of PCI compliance that all merchants will fall into, according to Visatransaction volume over a 12-month period. This transaction is determined based on theaggregate number of Visa transactions (inclusive of credit, debit and prepaid) from a merchantDoing Business As (ComplianceGuide, n.d.). There are four different merchant levels that anymerchants based on the categories that are described below and regardless of their acceptancechannel, should have (ComplianceGuide, n.d.).

“Level 1: Any merchant that process more than 6M Visa transactions per year.

Level 2: Any merchant that process 1M to 6M Visa transactions per year.

Level 3: Any merchant that process 20,000 to 1M Visa e-commerce transactions per year.

Level 4: Any merchant that process fewer than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year,and all other merchants that process up to 1M Visa transactions per year.” 

Cyber Risks and Cyber Attack Prevention Methods

We should know that none of the security software, antiviruses, and other tools can % 100guarantees to prevent hotels and any other business from cyber attacks (Accenture operations,n.d.). On the other hand, securing and limiting the system too much may cause other problemssuch as preventing the customers to access the information they might need; thus, hotels andother organizations should manage the risk in cyber defense which according to (Accentureoperations, n.d.) requires a meaningful and understandable operational model which causesbalance in security implementation and operation as well as using the newest technologyavailable plus testing of security posture and very strong feedback structure (Accentureoperations, n.d.). In Accenture operations website (n.d.), for cyber defense excellence, there arethree steps available, which are: 1. Prepare and protect 2. Defend and detect and 3. Respond andrecover.

Now we will go to the details of each step to see what each step supposed to do to secure thebusiness as much as it is able to (Accenture operations, n.d.).

  1. PREPARE AND PROTECT: this step will give us a big view of the security performancein support of businesses. It makes us aware of the threat intelligence existence and willmake us ready to manage our business vulnerability. In this between, experts will need tohave forward thinking capabilities to help scale activities and on the other hand ITstrategies will be designed based on great understanding of assets, data sets, technical andbusiness functions.
  2. DEFEND AND DETECT: in this step which is very critical, the forward thinking

capabilities should effectively help the scale activities so that operational monitoring and

controlling capabilities be able to analyze the security in an advance level which focuses

on visualization to understand and identify the anomalies and suspicious activities.

  1. RESPOND AND RECOVER: in the last step which focuses on intelligent incident

response, some active defense strategies will be take into action which requires the

security incidence management. This step is the art of the platforms to catch the hackersand attackers or any other threat to the business.

In general, Cyber-attacks can occur in any four forms below (Bamrara, 2015):

  1. “The intruder may unofficially access to the network
  2. The intruder may destroy, otherwise or corrupt the alter data
  3. The intruder may fake the permission from user system and enter to the system
  4. The intruder may implement some malicious procedure to fail, hang or reboot the system while cannot access the system”

The modern system of security really makes it difficult for hackers and cyber criminals to attackand access the network system however if the system is not configured in a good and proper wayor the update patches are not installed then cyber criminals may crack to the system while usingsecurity loophole (Bamrara, 2015).

According to Lavelle (Jan 4, 2016), most of the cyber-attacks occur by sending phishing emails,hacking weak passwords or some other attacks, which target the vulnerabilities of the webapplications. Thus, a lot of endpoint security vendors offer the anti-phishing solutions (Lavelle,2016).

One of the tools to prevent data breach attacks is Web Application Firewall (WAF) that hotelscan take advantage of. WAF solutions can be accessed through market and they are able toutilize as a cloud-based service and an on-premise appliance (Lavelle, 2016). WAF solutions arealso useful to detect and prevent the data to be revealed, therefore the attackers that target thecredit card database will not able to get those information since the WAF solutions will detectand block the database (Lavelle, 2016).

One of the best ways that hotels can use in order to secure themselves as well as customers’information and protect their data and also cover their loss in the case of data breach is havingcyber security insurance. According to Butler (January 15, 2016), cyber security insurance mustbe a concentration for any hotel owners. Hotel owners have to know that data breaches and cyberclaims are not included in general liabilities policy; therefore this fact makes it even moreimportant for hotel owners to think about and getting insurance for any cyber claims in case of cyber-attack. Cyber security insurers will cover both first and third party in the case of cyber-attack and data loses. The third party can be both customers and government or any regulatoryagencies.

Learning about Digital Certificates

Digital certificates are used to bind a message to the owner/generator of the message (Chapter 6 -Digital Certificates, n.d.). This binding is established by the use of private keys, that is, theowner of the message signs a message with his private key (only the owner has its private key) (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.). The verification is done with the public key of the message owner/generator. Digital certifications are important in cyber security as they provide non-repudiation service (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.). In hospitality industry, digital certificates are also crucial to prevent fraud from customers or hotel/restaurant owners as false claims from either can be legally challenged and the truth be established by using digital certificates (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.). Digital certificates are integrated in all modern web browsers so that the identity of the people and organizations can be verified, and the integrity of the content be preserved (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.). The following information (at least) is contained in each digital certificate (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.):

  • “Owner’s public key
  • Owner’s name or alias
  • Certificate’s expiration date
  • Certificate’s serial number
  • Name of the organization that issued the certificate
  • Digital signature of the organization that issued the certificate “

Certificates are authenticated, issued, and managed by a trusted third party called a certificationauthority (CA). The CA must provide following services: (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.)

  • “Security related technology, such as security protocols and standards
  • Infrastructure, including secure facilities, backup systems, and customer support
  • A legally binding framework for managing subscriber activities and resolving disputes”

Digital certificates can be used for the following: (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.)

  • “To verify the identity of clients and servers on the web
  • To enable secure communication between clients and servers by encryption (e.g., secure

Internet email communication)

  • To associate a digital signature with an executable code that users can download from the web to verify the source and integrity of the executable code “

Clients and servers exchange digital certificates using a secure transmission protocol, such as secure sockets layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS). (Chapter 6 – Digital Certificates, n.d.) 

How to know if a Website is Secure

Before providing any confidential information to a website, one should ensure that the website insecure. The following tips help in identifying the security of a website: (Woodfield, November26,2014).

  1. Check the SSL Certificate

The website address, also known as the website’s Uniform Resource Locator (URL), provides information about the security of a website. If the URL begins with “https” instead of “http”, itimplies that the website uses SSL and is secure (Woodfield, November 26,2014). The website hosting company has to go through a validation process to obtain an SSL Certificate (Woodfield,November 26,2014). There are a few different validation levels and some of them are more difficult to obtain than the others (Woodfield, November 26,2014). The two most commonly used validation levels are: (a) Domain Validation (DV); and (b) Extended Validation (EV). TheDV is the lowest level of validation that simply verifies the ownership of the domain and not the legitimacy of the organization requesting the certificate (Woodfield, November 26,2014). Forex ample, if someone purchases a domain “amaz0n.com” and requests a certificate for this domain, he/she would get the certificate because of the domain’s ownership (Woodfield,November 26,2014). The EV is the highest validation level (also the most safest and expensive validation level) that requires not only the company requesting the certificate to prove its identity but also verifies the company’s legitimacy as a business (Woodfield, November 26,2014). A website having an EV certificate can be recognized by looking at the address bar (Woodfield,November 26,2014). Browsers depict a green address bar with a padlock icon for websites withEV certificates, as shown in the picture below (Woodfield, November 26,2014).

  1. Look at the Website Domain

Cyber attackers sometimes make websites that mimic existing websites in order to trick people to enter their confidential information (e.g., credit card numbers, login information) on the phishing website. For example, assume a cyber-attacker purchases the domain “amaz0n.com” and sets up a website at “amaz0n.com” that resembles the amazon.com website (Woodfield, November26,2014). The attacker purchases a DV certificate for the website and attempts to trick users (byusing phishing emails or other methods) to buy items or log into their accounts on the mimic phishing site (Woodfield, November 26,2014). These phishing attacks can be avoided by always looking at the website domain to ensure that one is connected to the authenticated website and

not a phishing website (Woodfield, November 26,2014).

  1. Look for Signs that the Company is Real

One should always look for signs to identify if the company represented on the website is real or not (Woodfield, November 26,2014). The following signs can help in the identification of alegitimate company: (Woodfield, November 26,2014).

Physical address and phone number – Listing of a physical address and a phone number on the website increases the chances that the business is legitimate because reputable companies often list their information so that a customer can contact them if there is a problem (Woodfield,November 26,2014).

Return policy – Reputable e-commerce sites should list their return and shipping policies. If one cannot find the return and/or shipping policy of a company, one should refrain from purchasing on such websites (Woodfield, November 26,2014).

Prices are too low to believe – If a website offers a product at a price that is incredibly lower than the actual product price, this could be an indication that the website is selling a counterfeit product or one may not get anything at all after purchasing from such a website (Woodfield,November 26,2014).

Privacy statement – Reputable sites should list their privacy statement, that is, how the website protects customer information and whether the website shares the customer information with third parties (Woodfield, November 26,2014). One should make sure a site has a privacy statement and should read the privacy statement before making a purchase (Woodfield,November 26,2014). 

Examples of Cyber Attacks in Hotels

In 2014 and 2015, we will see a large number of hotels that were affected by cyber attackers,which has never seen before in the history of hotel industry. Below are some stories about these hotels that were exposed and had caused a lot of guests’ personal information and their bank accounts to be revealed to attackers:

  1. According to Hertzfeld(September 3rd, 2015), There was a data breach that was reported at a Brunswick Maine and Hotel, which possibly could affect 2,600 guest information who had stayed in the hotel between November 29th to July 21st Based on company estimation. The Brunswick Hotel and Tavern management said, malware was placed on their front desk computer and the CFO (Dan Flaherty) believed that through a scamphishing email, which pretended to be a message from a guest, the malware was installed.

Malware was designed in a way to avoid demodulation from antivirus software.

According to a letter from one of their customer, which was posted online by Vermont

Office of the Attorney General, the malware’s aim was to capture and permit remote access to payment card information. Finally the hotel got some help from the cyber security and investigation company to search more about the case as well as make the whole system of the hotel more secure and increase the online safety for their customers.

  1. On March 2015, the Mandarin Oriental Hotels experienced the data breach (Lavelle,

2016). The breach was designed to get the credit card and debit card information of those customers who used spa, beverages, guest rooms, dining room and other product and services. It is also infected the sales system of a couple of properties (Petri, Dec 08,2015).

  1. From November 18 to December 5, 2014 and from April 21 to July 27, 2015 Hilton

Worldwide hotels faced the data breach, credit and data theft as well as some of its point of-sale computer system. Fortunately, the hackers were not able to get the name of the customers as well as their addresses and personal identification numbers, however they had accessed to the credit card numbers plus security codes and expiration dates. Hilton got help from a third-party experts, law enforcement and payment card companies to investigate the breach and also told its customers to see if there is any irregular activity in their accounts (AFP, Nov 25, 2015).

  1. On November 2015, Four days before attack to Hilton Hotels, Star wood Hotel Group got attack and that caused data breach. Hackers targeted the payment system and potentially leaking customer credit card data. Star wood also got help from forensic experts so that could recover the system in a couple of the restaurants as well as gift shops and point ofsale system of the hotel (AFP, Nov 25, 2015). The company was also gave the list of the affected hotels which included the Sheraton New York Times Square, the Westin NewYork Grand Central New York and the St.RegisBalHarbour Resort in Florida (Starwoodsays malware, November 24, 2015).
  2. Hyatt Hotels also faced data breach on December 2015 (Lavelle, 2016). It did not talk about the type of the malware that was used to attack the data however the hotel asked the customers to check their account activity and also told them that they can feel free to using payment cards at Hyatt hotels since they are making their security system very strong to protect their customers (Rukmangadhan & Finkle, December 24, 2015). This data breach is a big warning to Hyatt hotels because it makes all their 627 properties in

52 countries vulnerable to the cyber criminals (Champagne, January 6, 2016).

  1. And finally, on October 2015, Trump Hotel Collection confirmed the data breach and it alarmed the customers who used their credit card in the hotels between May 19, 2014 and June 2, 2015. This data breach happened in several Trump locations such as SoHo NewYork, Trump International Hotel and Tower Las Vegas, Trump International Waikiki and Trump International Chicago (Petri, Dec 08, 2015).

METHODOLOGY

This study is completely qualitative and the case study is targeting the hotels in Reno, Nevada.

Based on that, five hotels are chosen without any specific consideration or hotels’ features. Therese archer decided to have an interview with a targeted sample for the following reasons: 1)interview is one of the most effective tools and techniques to collect data; 2) the simplicity,practicality, flexibility and interactive nature of the interview provides an opportunity to hear the interviewee’s perspective regarding the subject and research.

The interviews for this study were conducted either face-to-face or via phone for data collection.

The interviewees included hotels’ front desk employees, hotels’ guests, and hotels’ assistant of general managers (GMs) or IT managers depending whether the hotel employed an IT manageror not. The participants were selected based on their knowledge about the issue or their ability to give productive, useful and effective information about the topic that can be contributed to the public knowledge, such as public knowledge about cyber security.

In each hotel, ten guests were interviewed without giving any consideration of whether the interviewee was a loyal customer or not. Also two Front Desk employees were interviewed in each hotel. In three hotels out of the five that had an IT manager, the interviews were done with them; however, the other three hotels, which didn’t have IT managers, the interviews were done with assistant of GMs.

Since this study is not a human subject study, the researcher didn’t get IRB for the study;however, all interviewees were informed about the confidentiality of the information they had given. Each interview with guests took about 7-10 minutes and with employees it took about 5 minutes. Interviews with IT managers and Assistant of general managers took about 15 minutes each; however unfortunately the researcher couldn’t get enough information that the study seeks due to the confidentiality of the hotels’ security information. IT managers and Assistant of GMs informed the researcher that they were not allowed to reveal anything about their network security system and their implications regarding that because it was against their policy and thepolicy of the third party company that they work with to reveal hotel’s security-related information. Therefore, some of the interview questions couldn’t be answered.

The interview questions were made based on some of the previous articles and works that have done so far regarding network security issues in hotels and hospitality industry. The interview questions did not ask of personal information about the interviewees and the participation in this interview was absolutely volunteer. Also, the interviewees were free not to answer any of the questions they did not want to. The answers to the interview questions were recorded on the piece of paper and later on were typed and added to the research project.

The interviews questions from all three groups (guests, front desk employees and assistant of GMs or IT managers) in each hotel can be seen in Table 1, and the answers are available in the“Findings and Results” section.

The data analysis of this study is based on the qualitative nature of the study. Since it is a case study research, the data analysis will be done with pattern matching and explanation building in conclusion section. These two methods of data analysis are introduced and defined by Yin(1994).

Table 1: Interview Questions

FINDINGS AND RESULTS

The results and findings of the research is shown below: 

Hotel 1

This hotel hasn’t had an IT manager, so the interview was done with the assistant of GM. Thishotel is a 2-star hotel with 59 smoke-free guestrooms, Free airport shuttle, Fitness center,Business center, 24-hour front desk Coffee/tea in the lobby, Air conditioning, Computer station,Self-serve laundry, Meeting rooms, Multilingual staff and Free newspapers in the lobby. At themoment the hotel uses Anti-virus software to protect its system; however the hotel’s computersecurity is very low and it doesn’t require any password for guests to log into the hotel’s Wi-Fi,which makes the computer system very vulnerable. The Assistant of GM claimed that they havenot experienced any attack in last five years. Based on that the hotel he has not reported anything to public about any cyber-attack. The website of the hotel is certified and secure for any financialtransactions. The hotel currently has decided to make a contract with an IT company; howeverthey do not have any specific IT company at the moment to work with. For now in case of facingany problem, they acquire services of IT professionals from various companies. The hotel tries tohave a strong password to access the computer system by using small and capital letters as wellas symbols and numbers in creating passwords. Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t have any specificmethod to protect the confidential data from potential internal attackers, however the front deskemployees are not able to see some information that managers can see. The assistant of GM believes that there is no %100 in security.

The result after interview with front desk employees shows that the hotel does not have anyspecific training program regarding cyber security, however both employees claimed that theyhave an idea about phishing emails, so they do not open all emails that they receive. Theymentioned they get phishing emails very often and lots of other emails that go to spam section ofthe email and based on the content of email and the format they can recognize if this is aphishing email or not. They also mentioned they never heard about data breach in this hotel andthey barely received complains about the fake websites and money transactions.

Among 10 guests in this hotel, only one of them said that he has experienced a fake websitewhile he was booking a hotel for his business purposes 2 years ago and he didn’t recognize theissue until the time he went for check-in and front desk employee told him that his name is notthere. He also mentioned that the front desk employee already knew about the fake website sincethey had another customer who had claimed the same thing. All of the guests responded no to thesecond question regarding being informed about any data breach in the hotel they have stayed;however one of them mentioned that after coming back from his travel, he observed someunusual credit card activities, so he called the bank and informed them and get his refund. Allguests responded no regarding staying in a hotel that has experienced any data breach. Amongten guests, three of them were loyal customers however they said they never change theirpasswords and their criteria for choosing password is adding numbers, symbols and small andcapital letters to the password and make it as strong as possible. Among all guests, only three ofthem said they pay attention to the website security while paying online. 

Hotel 2

This hotel has an IT manager and it comes under 4-star hotels. The amenities of the hotelinclude: 1990 guestrooms, Casino, 10 restaurants, Full-service spa, Nightclub, Breakfast, Freeairport shuttle, Seasonal outdoor pool, Ski storage, Health club, 24-hour business center andLimo/town car service. The interview was done with the IT manager. Due to the security of thehotel, the IT manager was not able to provide any information regarding their current securitypractices, their experiences in last 5 years, their PCI DSS compliance level, their challenges andthe methods they use to prevent internal attacks. The IT manager mentioned that the hotel hasnot reported any cyber-attack to public in last five years. The website of the hotel is completelysecure for any personal and credit card information as well as financial transaction. The hotelalso has annual contract with an IT company to maintain and handle the security of the cyberinfrastructure. The hotel has a plan to get cyber insurance as well in the near future. The ITmanager believed that there is no %100 security in anything and IT managers are always onestep behind the hackers and cyber attackers.

The result after interview with front desk employees shows that the hotel does not have anyspecific training program regarding cyber security, however the IT manager frequently check thesystem to see if everything goes well. They mentioned they get phishing emails almost everydayand most of the emails in spam section are phishing. Based on the content of email and theformat they can recognize if this is a phishing email or not. They also mentioned they neverheard about data breach in this hotel and they received complains a couple of times about the fake websites and money transactions.

Among 10 guests in this hotel, none of them said that he has experienced a fake website forbooking a hotel. All of the guests responded no to the second question regarding being informedabout any data breach in the hotel they have stayed. All guests responded no regarding staying ina hotel that has experienced any data breach. Among ten guests, six of them were loyalcustomers however only two of them mentioned that they change their passwords every sixmonths. These two guests were a couple who had studied and worked in IT area. Seven out often guests mentioned that their criteria for choosing password is adding numbers, symbols andsmall and capital letters to the password and make it as strong as possible and the rest of the guests mentioned that they use the same password for all their online accounts. Among allguests, seven of them said they pay attention to the website security while paying online.

Hotel 3

This is a 4-star hotel that has an IT manager plus1623 guestrooms, Casino, 10 restaurants and 14bars/lounges, Full-service spa, 2 outdoor pools, Nightclub, Breakfast, Internet in the lobby, Freeairport shuttle, Ski storage, Fitness center and 24-hour business center. The interview was donewith the IT manager. Due to the security of the hotel, the IT manager was not able to provide any information regarding their current security practices, their experiences in last 5 years, their PCIDSS compliance level, their challenges and the methods they use to prevent internal attacks. TheIT manager mentioned that the hotel has not reported any cyber-attack to public in last five years.

The website of the hotel is completely secure for any personal and credit card information aswell as financial transaction. The hotel also has annual contract with an IT company to maintainand handle the security of the cyber infrastructure. The hotel does not have cyber insurance yet.

The IT manager believed that there is no %100 security.

The result after interview with front desk employees shows that the hotel does not have anyspecific training program regarding cyber security, however the IT manager frequently check thesystem to see if everything goes well. They mentioned they are not responsible to check theemails and response and they have another department for that. In addition, they also mentionedthey never heard about data breach in this hotel and they received complains a couple of timesabout the fake websites and money transactions.

Among 10 guests in this hotel, two of them said that they have experienced a fake website forbooking a hotel an one of them said that after paying and booking the hotel room, her son hadrecognized the website was fake due to the logo image. All of the guests responded no to thesecond question regarding being informed about any data breach in the hotel they have stayed.

Nine guests responded no regarding staying in a hotel that has experienced any data breach andonly one said if they informed the guests about it and they guarantee the security now, she willstill stay at that hotel. Among ten guests, five of them were loyal customers however none ofthem change their password regularly and two of them said in the case of observing suspiciousactivities, they would change the password. Five out of ten guests mentioned that their criteriafor choosing password is adding numbers, symbols and small and capital letters to the passwordand make it as strong as possible and the rest of the guests mentioned that they use the samepassword for all their online accounts. Among all guests, six of them said they pay attention tothe website security while paying online.

Hotel 4

This hotel is a 4-star hotel that has an IT manager and the interview was done with him. Theamenities of the hotel include: 824 guestrooms, Casino, 8 restaurants, Full-service spa, Indoorpool, Free airport shuttle, Ski storage, Health club, Conference center, Limo/town car service,24-hour front desk and Air conditioning. Due to the security of the hotel, the IT manager was notable to provide ant information regarding their current security practices, their experiences in last5 years, their PCI DSS compliance level, their challenges and the methods they use to preventinternal attacks. The IT manager mentioned that the hotel has not reported any cyber-attack topublic in last five years. The website of the hotel is completely secure for any personal and creditcard information as well as financial transaction. The hotel also has annual contract with an ITcompany to maintain and handle the security of the cyber infrastructure. The hotel does not havecyber insurance yet. The IT manager believed that there is no %100 security.

The result after interview with front desk employees shows that the hotel has a training programbut not specifically for regarding cyber security, however the IT manager frequently check thesystem to see if everything goes well and also inform them not to answer security questions andnot to provide private information of the hotel to anyone either on phone or email. Theymentioned they get phishing emails a lot and most of the emails in spam section are phishing.

They mentioned sometimes they are not able to recognized if the email is phishing or notbecause they look very normal. They also mentioned they never heard about data breach in thishotel and they received complains a three times in last year about the fake websites and moneytransactions.

Among 10 guests in this hotel, none of them said that they have experienced a fake website forbooking a hotel. All of the guests responded no to the second question regarding being informedabout any data breach in the hotel they have stayed. All of the guests responded no regardingstaying in a hotel that has experienced any data breach. Among ten guests, two of them wereloyal customers; however only three of them change their password regularly and six of themsaid in the case of observing suspicious activities, they would change the password. Eight out often guests mentioned that their criteria for choosing password is adding numbers, symbols and small and capital letters to the password and make it as strong as possible and the rest of theguests mentioned that they use the same password for all their online accounts. Among allguests, eight of them said they pay attention to the website security while paying online. 

Hotel 5

This 3-star hotel doesn’t have an IT manager and the interview was done with the assistant ofGM. The amenities of the hotel include: 260 guestrooms, Casino, 2 restaurants, Breakfast, Freeairport shuttle, Seasonal outdoor pool, 24-hour business center, 24-hour front desk, Airconditioning, Front desk safe, ATM/banking services and Laundry service. At the moment thehotel uses Anti-virus software, physical security and software firewall to protect its computersystem. The password for log into the Wi-Fi for guests is changes daily; however on the sameday the password is the same for all guests. The Assistant of GM was not willing to provideinformation about the hotel cyber-attack, however she mentioned that they experienced once andit was not a major one so the hotel has not reported anything to public regarding that. Thewebsite of the hotel is certified and secure for any financial transactions. The hotel currently hascontract with an IT company and they come to check the system and update the security software on regular bases. The hotel tries to have a strong password to access the computer system byusing small and capital letters as well as symbols and numbers in creating passwords.

Unfortunately the assistant of GM was not able to provide any information regarding the methods to protect the confidential data from potential internal attackers. The assistant of GMdoes not believe in %100 securities and instead believes in luck and fortune.

The result after interview with front desk employees shows that the hotel does not have anyspecific training program regarding cyber security. They mentioned they get phishing emailssometimes and mostly spam emails from unknown people. They also mentioned they neverheard about data breach in this hotel and they have never received complains about the fakewebsites and money transactions.

Among 10 guests in this hotel, none of them said that they have experienced a fake website forbooking a hotel. All of the guests responded no to the second question regarding being informedabout any data breach in the hotel they have stayed. All of the guests responded no regardingstaying in a hotel that has experienced any data breach. Among ten guests, one of them was loyalcustomer; however only two of them change their password regularly and eight of them said inthe case of observing suspicious activities, they would change the password. Seven out of tenguests mentioned that their criteria for choosing password is adding numbers, symbols and smalland capital letters to the password and make it as strong as possible and the rest of the guestsmentioned that they use the same password for all their online accounts. Among all guests, eightof them said they pay attention to the website security while paying online. 

CONCLUSION

This study tries to explain the importance of the cyber security in hospitality industry. It alsodiscusses about the tools and techniques to prevent cyber-attacks. The findings and results of thisstudy after interview with the front desk employees, guests and IT manager/ Assistant of GM infive different hotels that were chosen randomly, shows that not all the hotels in Reno, Nevadahas IT manager or someone who dedicates to computer system and networks. Even some of thehotels do not have contracted with any specific IT company to refer when the face any challengeor problem and they call random IT professionals from different companies to fix theircomputers’ problem. Also the current cyber security practices in some hotels are not enough atall to prevent the cyber-attacks at all. In addition, due to the security and privacy of the hotel, theresearcher was not able to understand whether the hotels have experienced any data breach inlast five years or not and the cyber challenges that they are facing as well as their PCIcompliance level and their criteria for creating the passwords; however the results show that allfive hotels have not reported any data breach to public in last five years. Interestingly one of thehotels has a plan to sign a contact with an IT company very soon. Moreover, all five hotels’ ITmanagers/ Assistant of GM do not believe in %100 security and they think this is not possible.

On the other hand, the results of interview with front desk employees show that they barelyreceive any complain from guests about fake websites and there is no specific training programfrom the hotel for them regarding cyber security of the computer networks, while they recognizethe phishing and suspicious emails based on their own knowledge about the content and outlookof the emails. They all also mentioned that they have never heard anything regarding data breachabout the same hotel they work for.

And finally the results of the interview with hotels’ guests show that nobody has ever heardabout data breach in the hotel they stays while nobody wants to stay in a hotel that hasexperienced any type of data breach. Also more than half of the guests who were interviewed (32out of 50), mentioned that they pay attention to the security of the website while booking thehotel online. In addition, more than half of the guests 27 out of 50) add symbols, numbers,capital and small letters to their passwords to make sure the password is strong enough and lessthan half of them change their password regularly, while most of them either use the samepassword for all their online account or change their passwords if they observe any suspiciousand unusual activity.

So based on the findings and results and data analysis, we understand that hotels are veryvulnerable and they definitely require a lot more security for their computer networks andsystem. While the hotels are very careless in paying attention to their network security, a lot ofhackers and cyber attackers out there are waiting for the chance to get into the hotels’ networksystem and access to the personal information of the guests without legal and official permissionand authorization. One of the biggest reasons that cause cyber-attacks is not having an ITmanager or a company to monitor the computer network and system. Also the lack of knowledgein hotel employees and lack of training in cyber security makes the hotels more vulnerable. Inaddition, lack of public knowledge about cyber security causes a lot of data breaches, personalinformation loses and a lot more. 

RECOMMENDATIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

According to the study’s findings and results, the researcher comes up with some recommendations, suggestions and implications that hoteliers can implement to make theircomputer system and networks more secure and to prevent any type of data breach and cyber-attacks as much as possible:

There are variety of tools and techniques available to scan the vulnerability of the computernetworks, measure and protect data from cyber-attacks, that any hotel based on its affordability, size and other features of the hotel, canimplement and use in order to take a better care of the data and personal information of theguests. Also each hotel should have a contract with an IT company or a dedicated IT managerwhom the hotel trusts so that on regular bases all the computer networks can be checked forany possible problem that makes the computer networks vulnerable.

In addition to that, hotels should determine some internal regulations and policies for the hotel’semployees regarding cyber security and computer network usage as well as having cybersecurity training program for those employees whose job is working with computers, handlingthe emails and social media. Moreover, instead of having the same password for all the guests inthe hotel or not having any password to join the hotel Wi-Fi, hotels can set up a wired internetsystem, so that those guests who has concern about their security be able to use the wired systemwhile they are in their room or having an individual password for each guest or each room inorder to protect the computer networks from any cyber-attack that might be caused by reusablepasswords. Furthermore, hotels must have a very secure and certified website that leverageextended validation or at least domain validation, so that the guests be able to book the rooms oranything else online without having any concern of being hacked or abused. And finally it isbetter for any hotel to have cyber insurance so that if the hotel experienced any data breach or cyber-attack, the insurance covers its loss and liabilities.

Although this study has many more contribution, the main contributions of this study are increasing the public knowledge and awareness regarding the importance of cyber security inhotels and hospitality industry as well as the importance of having a strong password for theonline accounts and changing them more often. It also teaches people to be careful about thesecurity of the website they want to pay online while booking a hotel room. In addition, thisstudy provides a thorough discussion of important terminologies and concepts of cyber securityin general and hospitality industry in particular. And finally this study helps to increases theknowledge of the readers about the different tools and techniques of cyber security as well astheir usage. 

LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE STUDIES

Considering that no research can be done without limitations, this study also has severallimitations. According to Phillips (1981), the best participants for interviews in research arethose who have enough information and knowledge about the topic and issue that the researcheris seeking for. Based on that, unfortunately the researcher of this study was not able to findexactly those participants, who are expert in this area since three out of five hotels, which weretargeting for this study, didn’t have IT manager in their hotel and the interview was done withthe assistant of general managers in those three hotels. In addition, assistant of general managersdid not have much information and knowledge about the issue.

On the other hand, the biggest limitation that this study faced was that in all of the five hotelsthat the interviews were done, due to hotels’ policy and the other involved companies’ policies(e.g., the policies of the security companies involved), the participants were not allowed to revealinformation about the hotel’s security. The hotel employee interviewees’ mentioned that it wasagainst their hotel’s policy to talk about the hotel’s network security as well as their experiencesregarding the security threats and challenges faced by the hotel. Therefore, the researcher wasnot able to get the answer of all the interview questions.

Another limitation of this study is that the sample of the study was very general and did nottarget any specific features in choosing the considered five hotels, such as property features,number of stars, services included, etc.

Furthermore, this study has only focused on network security and customers’ data and information security and not specifically on PCI DSS, payment security methods or anythingregarding credit cards and debit cards fraud. However, the project did briefly define theterminologies regarding other security aspects. In particular, the project described some details ofPCI DSS and its purpose in businesses, organizations and specifically hotels. Furthermore, theproject discussed the determination of the compliance level of PCI DSS in a business or anorganization. Thus, the future studies can focus more on how the PCI DSS works in hotels andbase on the size of the hotels and the other features of them, which level of compliance they needto have.

Also, in this study, the researcher shortly introduced tokenization, which can be an interestingtopic for future studies to see if hotels really know about this issue and take advantage of it tosecure their network system or not and how it can be a help for them to prevent data breach and cyber-attacks.

Since network security and cybercrimes are kind of new topics and hotels are facing more andmore challenges as well as getting to know the importance of this issue gradually, a lot ofresearch can be done in this area. For example one of the targets of the research can be theinsurance companies that cover liabilities regarding cybercrimes in hotels and otherorganizations. In addition, similar research can be carried out in other industries, such as bankingand airlines.

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Solution 

  1. What is the problem to be solved (briefly written to reader not specialized in the field)?

Clarity of the problem of the paper to be solved. Is the problem real and common?

The most and foremost problem in the hospitality management is apply breach into the

servers and stole all personal information of the user (information like credit , Debit card and netbanking details…etc). This paper mostly focuses on cyber security on hospitality management. Italso discusses about the tools and techniques to prevent cyber attacks. This study conducted mypractical experiments in the hotels near Reno and Nevada. The findings and results shown in thestudy explain there is full negligence in the maintaining and update of software they areworking. Many hotels does not have long term contract with software developers. Methodproposed in this study from cyber-attacks digital signatures which are fully secured and ease ofimplementation in real life. Other methods like prepare and protect, defend and detect, finallyrespond and recover.

  1. What is the method used for solving the problem? Talk about usefulness and effectiveness of the proposed solution idea. Is the solution convincing and justifiable?

Combination of different problem solving methods is used in this study. One of the best ways that hotels can use in order to secure themselves as well as customers information andprotect their data and also cover their loss in the case of data breach is having cyber securityinsurance. In case of any cyber-attacks and data loss on the hotel third party will provide all thepolicies they are covered in the insurance.Learning about Digital Signature. Implement Digital Signature hotel just need to contactcertification authority(CA). This is the most secure and effective if attack is planned on hotel.

To prevent attacks my from the inside hotel can use biometric or retina scans which are

more secure only authorized people are allowed to enter the area.

3) Can you suggest a modification to the work? What do you have options to modify thisidea. Can you improve it in any way? Any scientific modification can be justified isacceptable?

The paper only considers the only one side of the coin. We look at other side there are somuch of cost is combined to maintain the network of the hotel. With growing competition inhospitality management hotel will look into the profits they are earning. Study should haveproposed solution the attack from insider because most of the cyber-attacks are happening withhelp from the management staff. Implementation of the security keys (like RSA encrypted keys)whenever the employee trying to access the software.

4) Write in not more than 1-page: Strengths and Weaknesses of the work? DiscussPracticality of the idea in general. Can it be used in real life? 

Strengths:-

  • To prevent cyber-attacks from attackers in hospitality management using and implementation of Digital Signatures. Without knowing private key of the
  • Looking for the website if it is a secure using methods like SSL(Secure Socket

Layer) certificate, website Domain (example.. difference between ‘http’ and

“https” if it is https then the website is secured) and finally looking for the signs.

  • Results and findings are well explained in the study. Experiments are conducted in the different locations with all people involved in the hospitality management (like..Staff, employees, managers and IT developers).
  • Quationies are well prepared. Questions sited in the study cover all the doubts

raised by the average reader.

  • Most importantly the methods used to solve the problem are well explained with

the present challenges encountered by the hospitality management.

  • The references which are sited well researched and have practical implementation in real life.

Weakness

  • This study will only work for the Star Hotels but there are thousands of hotel

whichcan not affordable this much of cost.

  • Study is not well structured. No proper implementation of idea there are

presenting. Graphical representation of results and findings will give good idea

for average reader.

  • No proper methods for preventing attacks from the inside of the hotel.
  • Abstraction is not well defined.