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As the world and the hotel industry start to see the first green shoots of recovery from the COVID lockdowns, there is no shortage of new technologies emerging to try to address the new realities. As I sat down to write this week’s column, I found a list of more than 30 new or significantly modified products that had hit my radar I the past few weeks, all of them innovations somehow related to COVID.

The availability of NFC contactless payment (Restaurant POS, Front Desk, Kiosk), and NFC contactless access control (guest room doors, parking garages, elevators, meeting rooms, gyms, spas, front doors etc.) in hotels to reduce the need to touch shared surfaces that allow the transmission of coronavirus is both an urgent need, and an intelligent response, to one of the most significant issues that the hospitality industry has ever faced: coronavirus transmission and COVID-19 . Importantly also, NFC contactless, if widely implemented, would demonstrate that the hospitality industry has the well-being of its guests and employees front of mind once hotels start to emerge from lock-down. 

As millions across America practice social distancing, hotels and Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) are faced with the overall challenge of supporting their community and planning for the post-COVID-19 rebound. In addition to working directly with meeting planners, CVBs often report and forecast tourism for the entire community. CVBs play an integral role in the education and knowledge of upcoming events and trends in their community.

Shine is that light within you. It motivates us and it brightens our path. When we are down, afraid or experiencing unknown territory, it is what you say to yourself (your beliefs and thoughts) that determines if your light will stay bright or fade. 

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) announced last Wednesday during a press conference to industry media that the organization will consolidate its three major annual events to one location over a four-day period in October, and will call it, “The Best of HFTP.” 



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AIG Study: Systemic Cyber Attacks Likely in 2017; Financial Services, Power/Energy, International Cyber Conflicts Key Concerns

05/10/2017
by Hospitality Upgrade

Nine in 10 global cyber security and risk experts believe that cyber risk is systemic and that simultaneous attacks on multiple companies are likely in 2017, according to a study issued by American International Group, Inc. (AIG).

More than half of survey respondents say a simultaneous attack on five to 10 companies is highly likely in the next year. More than one-third estimate the likelihood of a simultaneous attack on as many as 50 companies at greater than 50 percent. Twenty percent see an even greater threat, predicting a better than even chance that as many as 100 companies will be attacked.

AIG’s survey of cyber security and risk experts was conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the likelihood and impact of a globally systemic cyber-attack. The survey follows several high profile systemic cyber events including the Dyn Denial-of-Service (DDoS) and MongoDB ransomware attacks.

Tracie Grella, global head of cyber risk insurance, AIG said: “While data breaches and cyber related attacks have become more prevalent for individual businesses, concern about systemic cyber-attacks are on the minds of those in the very community dedicated to analyzing and preventing this threat.”

The leading industries identified by experts as most likely to experience a systemic attack this year are:

  • Financial Services (19 percent)
  • Power/Energy (15 percent)
  • Telecommunications/Utilities (14 percent)
  • Healthcare (13 percent)
  • Information Technology (12 percent)

Financial networks or transaction systems, internet infrastructure, the power grid, and the healthcare system would be vulnerable in attacks on these industries. Information technology companies, including software and hardware providers that support the backbone of the digital economy, were also seen as particularly susceptible.

“Our highly-networked economy relies on secure, expedient, and constant data flow and electronic communication,” said Grella. “Disruptions to the flow and security of data can have cascading impacts and negatively impact institutions that rely on such data.”Asked to rank specific scenarios, respondents selected a mass distributed DDoS attack on a major cloud provider as the most likely cross-sector mega event. For data theft or destruction scenarios, flaws in hardware or software widely used by the industry are most concerning.

The top three likely scenarios selected by experts are:

  • Financial Services. 15 companies breached. Mass business interruption. Mass DDoS coordinated against financial institutions.
  • Healthcare. 10 companies breached (e.g., hospital, pharmacy, insurer). Mass data theft. Flaw in commonly used electronic medical record software.
  • Retail/Hospitality. 25 companies breached. Mass data theft. Flaw in widely used payment processing software/hardware.

The worst-case-scenarios that were of greatest concern include:

  • Cyber cat-and-mouse war games, retaliation, and escalation to conventional battle between prominent nation states.
  • A power grid attack during times of system stress with widespread impact on the population.
  • A significant attack on telecommunications and utilities infrastructure that has a widespread impact on essential services.

To access the full study, please visit: http://www.aig.com/content/dam/aig/america-canada/us/documents/business/cyber/aig-cyber-risk-systemic-final.pdf

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