Travel firms, airports and airlines are among those at risk of a cyberattack by Russian hackers, a fraud expert has warned.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department for Homeland Security issued a joint statement on Monday about “malicious cyber activity planned by the Russian government”.
The UK government said private sector corporations, critical infrastructure providers and small and home-based businesses could be targeted.
Travel industry fraud group Profit (Prevention of Fraud in the Travel Industry) said it was vital the trade took note of the warning, which comes in the wake of UK‑supported air strikes in Syria.
Profit chairman Barry Gooch said: “Travel businesses should not ignore this warning. It only takes one big attack to damage the reputation of the travel industry.”
He said cyberattacks could entail the theft of company money or customer data.
“The travel companies with the biggest vulnerability would be those with offices abroad where there might be different security or protocols,” he said.
“Potentially, if criminals wanted to target a business that would grab publicity, then airports, airlines or any major travel company could be at risk.”
Intelligence gathered by the US and UK suggested that millions of machines directing data around the internet were being targeted. Gooch said unusual activity should be reported to Action Fraud.
The government runs a Cyber Essentials scheme to help businesses protect themselves from common online threats. This requires suppliers to be certified to be allowed to bid for contracts involving the handling of certain sensitive and personal information.