Travel firms have been told to be on their guard against hacking after at least 15 high-profile cases in the industry this year.
The warning is part of an email campaign by Prevention of Fraud in Travel (Profit) and the Fraud Intelligence Network with the City of London Police.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, around a third of UK businesses have reported cyber-attacks or breaches during the 12 months to September this year, the campaign said.
In travel these have included data breaches at companies such as Teletext Holidays, British Airways and Air New Zealand.
In one of the Counter Fraud 2019 campaign’s latest installments, it said: “You may not think your organisation is vulnerable to being attacked by hacktivists but some of these groups aim to undermine the economic fabric of the West whilst some groups are linked to anarchists, and others linked to issues such as the environment and climate change, privacy and free speech.
“A hacking attack is a breach of your security and a crime. Once someone has successfully found out how to access a system, even if they do not make their presence known in any way, they increase your vulnerability as the method of exploitation used can quickly become known to the wider criminal fraternity and make you a target.”
The campaign warned that in most cases cybercriminals act to divert funds into their own hands, steal data for extortion, to use in their own crimes or to sell to others.
This week the campaign is issuing advice on how to deal with spam, which describes inappropriate or unsolicited emails sent over the internet for the purposes of advertising, phising money or data, or to spread malware.
In the first quarter of this year, 55% of global email traffic was spam, according to Symantec, an organisation that analyses internet activity globally.
Profit warned in its email: “Businesses should take all possible measures to reduce the threat of spam as it is a real and present danger to them.”
Advice on how to stop spam includes not posting email addresses online, including on message boards or internet forums; not giving out email addresses to companies that are not trusted; and installing free security system Quad9 to protect against common cyber threats.