Client-side Cybersecurity in the Hospitality Industry

There are more important aspects to hotel security than just locking doors. Over 1.3 billion guests pass through American hotels every year, and during their stay, hotels are required to collect and possess a great deal of their sensitive data. Poor cybersecurity in the hospitality industry can quickly lead to a data breach if this information is not protected.

With so much personal information in their possession, hotels and other businesses in the hospitality industry must be diligent about their cybersecurity. In hotels, in-house staff do everything possible to safeguard guest security.

The same caution must be taken by your IT staff to ensure both your server and the client-side of your web applications are protected against external threats.

Despite our best efforts to improve cybersecurity in the hospitality industry, these threats are ongoing. 13% of cybersecurity breaches in 2018 and 2019 took place within the hospitality industry, and that trend does not seem to be going away. These breaches cause not only reputational damage but can also cost a company millions in insurance payments, mitigation efforts, and even ransoms.

To reassure customers that your business can protect both their physical and cybersecurity, shoring up the client-side of your web applications, POS, and property management system is a necessity.

Hospitality Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities

Many threats target weaknesses in the cybersecurity of hotels, client-side threats being chief among them, as they often receive less internal attention than threats to your server-side and your infrastructure. The volume of transactions and interactions being moved to client’s browsers has never been so high, as this browser-based user experience has come to be an expected part of the hospitality industry.

However, to keep your business thriving, you must prioritize the security of these transactions and experiences. Here are some of the most common vulnerabilities and threats that may be affecting the integrity of your applications.

Unpatched client software

With many businesses increasing their reliance on client-side processing, this puts a huge burden on third-party software and plugins when it comes to cybersecurity in the hospitality industry. If it is not running the most up-to-date patches, it puts every browser it interacts with in danger of a breach.

JavaScript sniffers

JavaScript sniffers are a type of malware that can easily infect a website or web application with malicious code. Once this difficult-to-detect code is in place, it starts to read the page for personal or payment details whenever a transaction takes place.

Cross-site scripting

Another common threat of cybersecurity in the hospitality industry —especially client-side security—is cross-site scripting (XSS). This vulnerability occurs when a bad actor bypasses access into a website or web application, allowing it to insert malicious code.

This is used to conduct an XSS attack, which allows them to access the browser of any user that comes across it. They can then view any information contained within that browser, such as passwords, payment information, and other sensitive data.

Hospitality Threat Solutions

In the last several years, hotels and other hospitality organizations have become increasingly reliant on their web platforms to interact with customers. To optimize performance and provide a better user experience, much of the processing for these interactions is now taking place on the client-side, thanks to a network of third-party vendors.

Protecting customers from potential vulnerabilities caused by weak client-side cybersecurity in the hospitality industry is a key component of a safe and effective user experience. The following solutions can help guide you towards a security posture that offers both your customers and your organization every possible protection.

Conduct a vulnerability
assessment

During a vulnerability assessment, a trained expert in cybersecurity for the hospitality industry can help you determine where your system is weak, and which areas require additional security. This one-time event provides your IT team with a great roadmap for improving your security posture moving forward.

Automate
regular updates

Third-party plugins or software connected to your web applications or POS system provide an easy entry point to bad actors if they are not updated regularly. To ensure you have the strongest security possible, automate regular updates on all third-party plugins or software.

Protective client-side security products

Software and applications that can protect the vulnerable client side of your business are a great resource in the fight against bad actors and would-be hackers. Feroot specializes in this type of product and is pleased to offer clients two approaches to client-side security.

Inspector

Inspector continually monitors your JavaScript for vulnerabilities and reports on any the moment they’re detected. This ongoing attention ensures your vulnerable client-side attack surface is scrutinized 24/7, so you can immediately mitigate threats as they’re discovered.

PageGuard

PageGuard is another monitoring tool that runs continually in the background to detect anomalous and unauthorized scripts and suspicious code behaviors using the Zero Trust model. This protection ensures that any attempts to mitigate your code will be immediately spotted and blocked.

Give Your Guests
the Protection of Feroot

Looking to learn more about how Feroot’s robust monitoring products can protect the client-side attack surface and overall increase cybersecurity in the hospitality industry? Click here to request a demo today.