Booking a hotel or purchasing tickets online has become the norm. With just a few clicks, consumers can access a plethora of options while saving time and money.
However, along with the convenience come significant security risks that many people overlook. Online booking websites are prime targets for cybercriminals seeking to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting users.
Many people believe that popular and reputable travel booking websites are entirely secure. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as cyberattacks have become more sophisticated over the years.
Let’s talk about the most common security risks associated with online hotel and ticket booking websites, their impact on peoples’ finances and identity theft.
What are the risks with these sites?
To get to the point, many online reservation systems, such as those for airline tickets and hotels, allow customers to pay for their reservations via wire transfer, which is a familiar term among the general public. A software-defined network device known as a Payment Gateway is used to link the website’s database with the bank’s computer systems and servers through third-party plug-ins via APIs.
Secured Socket Layer or SSL algorithms, which may be 64-bit or 128-bit encryption methods depending on the necessity, are often used in these very secure payment gateways. 128-bit SSL algorithms are the most often used in the public domain to protect money transfer environments and encrypt sensitive information. These algorithms are exceedingly tough to break even with state-of-the-art tools.
The problem, or rather the loopholes, lies with the internal data storage mechanisms deployed by third-party ticket booking websites.
Sometimes, to reduce the cost of maintaining high-security standards, these websites do not take adequate measures to ensure that the payment-related information is safe on their servers. It might also be that their server or database administrators are not skilled enough to ensure stringent security measures are deployed.
It may happen that while no security breach takes place on the part of your bank’s transfer system, security loopholes might exist in the hotel’s or the airline’s website. Suppose their servers are hacked, and any expert hacker appropriately mines the data. In that case, your complete details regarding the financial transaction, including your credit card details, will be in front of the hacker.
The hacker can download or copy the information to some other system of his own and use the same to perform unauthorised transactions and fund transfers. Although banks deploy double-layered verification methods to mitigate such frauds, the process is far from being full-proof.
Phishing scams are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information from individuals by posing as a reputable organization or company through email, phone, or text messages.
One common form of phishing scam involves fake emails claiming to be from a hotel or ticket booking website. These emails often contain links that lead to fake login pages where scammers can steal usernames and passwords. With this information, scammers can gain access to personal data like credit card numbers and addressesIndividuals need to scrutinise any emails they receive from online booking sites and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
Malware is malicious software that can infect your computer or mobile device and cause serious damage. Hackers often use malware to steal personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords from people who book travel online.
To protect yourself from these threats, it’s important to several of precautions when using online booking websites. First, always make sure you’re using a reputable website that has strong security measures in place. You should also keep your antivirus software up-to-date and be careful about clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
One of the most significant risks associated with online booking sites is identity theft. Your data including personal and financial data are stored on the online booking websites. If they fail to exericese secrutiy mechanisms the data becomes prone to hacking or misuse by cybercriminals or hackers.
Cybercriminals can steal personal information such as name, address, credit card details, and passport number through phishing scams or malware attacks. Once they get hold of this data, they can use it to open fraudulent accounts, make unauthorized purchases or even commit crimes under the victim’s name.
As online hotel and ticket booking websites have become increasingly popular, so too have the security risks associated with using them. Many of these sites are not secure, meaning that your personal information is at risk of being stolen. In addition, these websites are often targeted by hackers who are looking to steal credit card information or book fake reservations. To protect yourself when using these websites, be sure to only use secure sites and verify the legitimacy of the site before entering any personal information.