Making Hotel WiFi Networks Safe & Secure for Guests
The internet has become an essential part of the everyday life of hotel guests. From checking emails to streaming shows, guests rely on the internet for various activities — and in hotels, using public WiFi is often the only option.
While this can be incredibly convenient for guests, using such networks can also come with risks. Hotels often offer public WiFi networks that are unsecured, making guest data vulnerable to theft. For hoteliers, it is essential to establish secure, high-speed networks for guests.
Are Hotel WiFi Networks Secure?
Like any WiFi network, hotel WiFi networks are only as secure as they are built to be. Unfortunately, in many hotels, hotel WiFi networks can be just as vulnerable as public networks. Hackers often target hotel networks because they know that guests will be using them for activities like checking email and banking. According to the PwC Hotels Outlook Report 2018-2022, the hotel industry is rated as the second most frequent target for cybercrime within the retail business sector.
As such, hoteliers need to ensure that their WiFi network is secure to offer the most valuable access to guests. There are several key factors hotels must leverage when building their network.
Is Your Hotel WiFi Secure? Factors to Consider
Overall hotel WiFi security depends on a variety of factors. Here are some of the things that hotels need to consider:
How Old Is the Hotel WiFi System?
One of the first things to consider when assessing the security of your hotel WiFi system is its age. Technology changes rapidly, and what might have been considered a secure system a few years ago can now be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If your hotel WiFi system is over a few years old, it is likely time for an upgrade.
What Type of Encryption is Used Within the Hotel WiFi Security System?
Another critical factor to consider is the type of encryption used in the hotel WiFi security system. Encryption is vital to keeping your system secure, as it helps to prevent data breaches and protects guest information. Currently, the most secure system is WPA3; if your system uses an older encryption method, you are making your hotel and your guests easy targets for cyberattacks.
What is the Strength of Hotel WiFi Passwords?
Many hotels install weak passwords to access their WiFi networks. To allow staff easy access to the network, some hotels use passwords that are easy to remember or synonymous with the brand. And because hotels hire so many staff members, it can often be a hassle to track who has access to the network — including detecting unwanted users. As a result, it’s common for hotel WiFi passwords to be leaked. To make your hotel WiFi password more secure, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Is your Hotel’s WiFi Network Monitored?
Another security risk is the number of devices connected to the hotel WiFi network. As mentioned previously, when there are many devices on one network, tracking who is using the network and what they’re doing can be more challenging. This can make it easier for hackers to gain access to the system, undetected by hoteliers.
Three Potential Threats to Hotel WiFi Security
Offering reliable and secure hotel WiFi is essential to providing a great guest experience. So what type of cybersecurity threats should hoteliers prepare for? According to the latest surveys, ransomware, phishing, and encrypted malware are the top three concerns for all businesses.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom be paid to decrypt them. This attack can be devastating for hotels, as it can prevent them from accessing important guest data or even cripple their ability to operate altogether.
Phishing is a type of cyberattack that involves tricking victims into clicking on malicious links or attachments. These links or attachments often appear to come from legitimate sources, which makes phishing attempts all the more difficult to spot.
Encrypted malware is a type of malware that uses encryption to evade detection by antivirus software. This type of malware is particularly dangerous because it can give attackers access to sensitive data like credit card numbers and guest information without being detected.
Tips on How to Make Hotel WiFi Networks Secure for Guests
How can hotels protect themselves and their guests from these threats? Although it’s impossible to avoid potential threats altogether, each of these steps can lower a hotel’s risk.
Update Your WiFi System With Strong Encryption Technology
One of the best ways to protect your hotel WiFi system is to update it with robust encryption technology. Although the most common type of encryption is still WPA2, WPA3 is now the most advanced encryption system. Remaining encrypted via WPA2 exposes a hotel to more recent, potentially disastrous WiFi threats.
Install Reliable Antivirus Programs
Hotels should also consider installing a robust antivirus solution to protect property from encrypted malware. There are many different antivirus programs available; for hotels, it is important to choose one that will fit the needs of your property.
Additionally, consider implementing application whitelisting at your property. This security measure will prevent unauthorized applications from running on your systems, making it much more difficult for attackers to install the malware in the first place.
Install Strong Firewall Systems
Another vital step to improve hotel WiFi security is installing strong firewall systems and configuring them properly. Firewalls help to prevent unauthorized access to your network and can be configured to block specific types of traffic, such as malware or phishing attempts.
Create Regular System Backups
The best way to ensure hotel operations continue smoothly after an attack from ransomware is to have a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan. This way, in the face of an attack, you’ll be able to quickly restore any lost data and get your operations up and running again.
Implement a Log-In Portal Requirement
Another way to make hotel WiFi more secure is through the implementation of a log-in portal requirement. This feature ensures that all guests enter their usernames and passwords to access the internet. By implementing this extra step, hotels can deter many would-be hackers and gain valuable information about who is using a network and when they are using the service, making it easier to spot any suspicious activity.
Closely Monitor Hotel WiFi Activity
Monitoring activity on the hotel WiFi network is a crucial safety step to protect hotels from hackers. By keeping an eye on any suspicious activities, hoteliers can quickly spot any potential threats and take steps to mitigate them.
Educate Staff on Hotel WiFi Security
Hotels are especially vulnerable to phishing attacks because they regularly communicate with guests via email. To protect property from this attack, hoteliers should educate staff on how to spot phishing emails and train them on what to do if they receive one. Additionally, consider investing in email filtering software to flag suspicious emails before they ever reach staff inboxes.
Implement Website Filtering on the Hotel Network
To further protect your network, you can configure your firewall to block access to websites known to be malicious or contain sensitive information. By doing this, you can help prevent guests from accidentally accessing a site that could risk your network and their personal data.
Let Hospitality Network Handle Your Hotel WiFi Security
At Hospitality Network, we understand the unique challenges hotels face when managing their WiFi network. As a secure, reliable WiFi provider, we can help you take the necessary steps to protect your property from hackers and keep your guests safe while they use your WiFi network.
With our managed WiFi services, you can rest assured that your guests will have the best possible experience. Our business-grade HSIA high-speed internet connection is designed to handle the increased demand of large groups of guests. Instead of constantly questioning how secure are your hotel WiFi networks, our team of experts will work with you to ensure that your network is always secure and up to running at peak performance.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your hotel WiFi security.