1(630)802-8605 Ravi.das@bn-inc.net

Ah yes, the doldrums of winter are now dissipating and the warm weather is now coming up on us fast.  Here in Chicago, we had a brutally cold late December, where the temperatures remained sub zero for a period of almost two weeks.  January and February faired a little bit better, but March got slightly bad, with April being the worst.

During this month, we had temperatures that were still in the mid to lower 30’s, barely even reaching the low 40’s.  There was a ton of rain, and yes, even snow still coming down to the ground towards the waning months.  Even during this time frame, there other parts of IL that were still receiving huge amounts of snow that were even south of Chicago.

So while we had rain, wind and mid 30 temperatures, there were places like Pekin, IL, that still had sub zero temperatures and gargantuan amounts of snow . . . and yes,  this is late April!!!  Well anyways, it is now in the first couple of days of May, and the weather is now acting like it should. Warm, and long summer nights will now start.

With all of this in mind, many of us will now be planning our summer trips and excursions.  Some them could just be road trips, and some of them could be long distance flying off to foreign lands.  Whatever the choice of transportation and destination might be, we will  probably be using some sort of travel website to plan our route.

While this might be all fun and exciting, you still have to be aware of one thing:  your security.  These websites are still prime picking for the Cyber attacker, because in many instances, you will have to submit your credit card information.  According to a latest news report by Dashlane, 89% of travel websites that are used leave their user’s accounts open to Cyber attacks due to the lack of enforcement of creating strong and robust passwords.

Also, according to a recent survey entitled the Travel Website Password Power Rankings”, only 11% of travel websites were deemed to have a strong level of security for their end users (55 total travel websites were examined, and only 6 passed with a score of 4/5).  The only travel website that received a perfect score was “Airbnb”, with a score of 5/5.

Not surprising though, the websites with the worst rankings for security were America Airlines and Carnival Cruise Lines, with a dismal score of 5/5.  It was even reported that these particular websites allowed end users to set up passwords like “12345” or even the good ‘ole one of “password”.  In fact, here are all of the rankings:

  • 5/5 Score (Best)
    • Airbnb
  • 4/5 Score
    • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Hilton
    • Marriott
    • Royal Caribbean
    • United Airlines
  • 3/5 Score
    • Alamo
    • Alaska Airlines
    • Avis
    • Best Western
    • Booking.com
    • Budget
    • Delta Airlines
    • Enterprise
    • Frontier Airlines
    • Hertz
    • Hostelbookers
    • Hyatt
    • KAYAK
    • Momondo
    • National
    • Priceline
    • Skyscanner
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Spirit Airlines
    • Travelzoo
  • 2/5 Score
    • Couchsurfing
    • Disney Cruise Line
    • Expedia
    • Holland America
    • HomeAway/VRBO
    • Hostelworld
    • Hotels.com
    • JetBlue
    • Orbitz
    • Sheraton
    • Sun Country
    • Thrifty
    • Travelocity
  • 1/5 Score
    • Accor Hotels
    • Agoda
    • Air Canada
    • Allegiant Air
    • American Airlines
    • Carnival Cruise Line
    • Choice Hotels
    • CruiseCritic
    • Hostelz
    • Hotwire
    • Intercontinental Hotel Group
    • Skiplagged
    • Student Universe
    • Trip Advisor
    • Trivago
  • 0/5 Score (Worst)
    • Norwegian Cruise Line

(SOURCE:  https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88974-percent-of-top-travel-websites-fail-to-protect-user-security)

The study also found that these travel websites also lack the enforcement of what is known as “Two Factor Authentication”, or “2FA” for short.  This is where you provide two layers of login credentials in order to gain access to your account.  For example, you could first enter your password  in, followed by your responses to challenge/answer questions.

Overall, it appears that the cruise industry had the worst ratings, while in a strange contrast, rental car websites had the best rankings.  The moral of the story:  Don’t let all of this scare you from enjoying your summer.  You’ve worked hard for your vacations, and plan them as you want to have the most fun.  Just be safe, and make sure that you create a reasonably strong password.  Yes, it’s a pain the butt, but think about it, how many times do you really visit a travel website?

Not too often probably, only during the summer and winter times.  So, although this goes against traditional security practices, you can even write your long and complex password down on a piece of paper, and store it safely until it is needed next time.  And always, trust your gut.  If a travel website feels phony or too good to be true, then it probably is.