EXPERTS at the Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West (SWCRC) are urging the travel and tourism sector to increase its cyber security vigilance, as attacks on businesses continue to rise along with the temperature.

The region has been enjoying a buoyant first few weeks since the tourism trade reopened and during July and August.

However, a recent keynote speech from National Cyber Security Centre Chief executive officer Lindy Cameron detailed the growing ferocity of ransomware attacks - the number one cyber threat in the UK.

Superintendent Mark Moore, director of the SWCRC, said: "The headlines are regularly awash with how criminals are launching attacks, which according to a government report costs more than £8,000 of damage on average.

"However, it’s not always reported that many of the victims are actually small businesses on the high street.”

Ransomware is when a user or entire business can no longer access the system and files they need to run their business.

To get the access back, the attacker will often demand a ransom payment and if a business fails to pay up, the data will be stolen and/or deleted.

Figures from Action Fraud’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) state almost 190 extortion threats were reported in the South West of England between 1 Jun 2020 and 1 Jun 2021, with losses of more than £353k.

Mark said: “The travel and tourism industry offers holidaymakers tips and advice on staying safe during their time away, but they don’t often consider how to keep their business further protected."