Hackers Targeting Hotel Owners Posing as Guests

Hackers Targeting Hotel Owners Posing as Guests

Hackers Attacking Hotel Owners & Employees as Potential Guests

 

Since last summer, hotel owners and employees have been facing a surge in malicious emails disguised as ordinary correspondence from previous or potential guests. These emails, often appearing as typical messages sent to the hotel’s public email address or as urgent requests from Booking.com, aim to steal employees’ login credentials or infect hotel systems with malware.

 

Evolving Threats in the Hospitality Industry

 

Attackers’ tactics have become increasingly sophisticated, making it challenging for hotel staff to identify and thwart these threats. According to reports from Kaspersky, cybercriminals exploit the hospitality industry’s inherent customer service focus when targeting hotels. Hotel employees, eager to resolve conflicts and fulfill requests to maintain their establishment’s reputation, often fall prey to these attacks.

 

Common Attack Strategies

 

Attackers craft emails that mimic genuine customer inquiries or complaints, prompting employees to follow links or open attachments that contain malware. This method, termed a “customer focus attack,” leverages the hotel’s commitment to customer satisfaction to breach its defenses.

 

Complaint-Based Emails

 

In complaint-based emails, attackers pose as dissatisfied guests, citing unethical staff behavior, double-charged bank cards, or poor accommodation conditions. They often include supposed evidence like videos, photos, or bank statements to lend credibility to their claims.

 

Inquiry-Based Emails

 

In inquiry-based emails, attackers pose as potential guests seeking information about hotel services and pricing. These inquiries cover various topics, from room amenities to sustainable energy sources, making them appear legitimate. In some cases, attackers engage in multi-stage correspondence with hotel staff, initially sending innocuous messages and gradually building trust before delivering a malicious payload.

 

 

End Goals: Credential Theft and Malware Infection

 

The primary objective of these cybercriminals is to obtain login credentials, which they can then use in other scams or sell on the dark web. Compromised hotel accounts on Booking.com can be exploited to scam clients out of payment information. Attackers use various methods to achieve their goals, including phishing links that mimic Booking.com login pages or corporate credential forms, and malware such as the XWorm backdoor and the RedLine stealer.

 

How Hotels Can Defend Against These Attacks

 

To protect against these sophisticated attacks, hotels should implement several key measures:

  1. Security Awareness Training: Regular training sessions can equip employees to recognize and resist social engineering techniques. Employees should be trained to scrutinize the sender’s email address and be wary of free email services used by attackers.
  2. Email Gateway Protection: Implementing protection at the email gateway level can prevent phishing, malicious links, and dangerous attachments from reaching employees’ inboxes.
  3. Robust Security Solutions: Installing comprehensive security solutions with anti-phishing technology on all work devices can provide an additional layer of defense.
  4. Stay Informed: Keeping up-to-date with the latest email threats through reliable sources can help hotels stay ahead of cybercriminals’ evolving tactics.

 

Why Partner with PivIT Strategy?

 

At PivIT Strategy, we specialize in providing tailored cybersecurity solutions to protect the unique needs of the hospitality industry. By partnering with us, hotels can benefit from:

  • Advanced Threat Detection: Our state-of-the-art security solutions can detect and neutralize threats before they reach your employees.
  • Expert Training Programs: We offer comprehensive security awareness training to ensure your staff can identify and respond to potential cyber threats effectively.
  • Proactive Monitoring: Our 24/7 monitoring services keep a constant watch on your systems, allowing us to respond to incidents in real-time.
  • Customized Solutions: We understand that every hotel is different. Our cybersecurity solutions are customized to fit the specific needs of your establishment, ensuring maximum protection.

 

By adopting these measures and partnering with PivIT Strategy, hotels can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to malicious email campaigns and safeguard their operations and reputation. Secure your hotel’s future by collaborating with PivIT Strategy today.

jwolverton
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