Digital security: How to protect your restaurant from the next WannaCry hack

It’s a fact: the hospitality industry is increasingly at risk of digital attacks.

wanna-cry-ikentoo-pos

In early May 2017, a hack named WannaCry infected hundreds of thousands of computers, driven by a virus that spread across the world in less than a weekend. It propagated quickly through corrupt e-mail accounts, aided by security flaws in certain versions of Microsoft Windows software. It is a "ransomware" virus, an automated blackmail software basically, which blocks access to all the data on the device unless you pay the equivalent of 300-600 US dollars.

A few months earlier in February 2017, a British hacker decided to have some fun and hacked hundreds of thousands of personal and commercial printers around the world, including those of many restaurants and shops. He reprogrammed the devices to create amusing pictures and messages as a way to raise awareness of the vulnerability of the printers’ security systems. While his hack did not cause any damage, it showed the susceptibility of many computer and WiFi protocols to outside attack, notably those used in the hospitality business. So the question is: are you protected enough?

 

iKentoo is not affected by WannaCry

First of all, if you are an iKentoo customer, know that our company, hospitality POS and back-office platform have not been affected by this hack, and all your data, as well as that of your customers, is secure. The virus only attacked devices running on Windows operating systems. As all our digital infrastructure is based on Apple iOS products, the attack had no effect on your point of sale devices and other connected hardware. In addition, the web servers that run the iKentoo ecosystem through the cloud were 100% untouched, and do not run on Windows.

The advantage to you of using Apple products is that they offer a solid base layer of digital security through their automatic encryption of the data in the devices. And at iKentoo we add other elements of protection throughout the system. Your iKentoo iPad point of sale encrypts all data that it stores, and transfers it to your back office through the cloud using secure communication protocols. Concretely this means that even in case of a hack in your local network, your data is not accessible by criminals, and you can easily restore lost it using your back office platform.

 

How can I protect myself?

The digital protection offered by Apple and our iKentoo internal protocols are a good starting point, but no computer system is flawless. And the greatest vulnerability of any IT system is always human error. So, here are some tips to make your business even more secure.

 

Passwords:

  • Create complex passwords that are random combinations of symbols, upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers - no easy to remember words or names!

  • Use a new password for each of your different accounts.

  • You can use a secure Password Manager software that stores your different passwords to avoid having to write them on paper.

 

Operating system:

  • When in doubt, choose Apple products rather than Windows for their more solid data protection protocols and intuitive interfaces.

  • And do not forget to update your operating system regularly, as most software vendors regularly release updates that help protect devices from the latest viruses or other digital attacks.

 

WiFi / Internet connectivity:

  • When creating your WiFi networks in your restaurant, opt for modern and secure WiFi protocols. In particular, choose the WPA2 protocol rather than the older WPA or WEP, which are more susceptible to digital infiltrations.

  • Create separate networks for your professional devices (point of sale devices, printers, remote controls, etc.) and for the use of your customers.

  • Use complex passwords for your business network, and not a variation of your business name for example!

 

The digital world is constantly evolving, and the hospitality business is in full digitisation. To protect yourself at best you should stay up to date with the latest IT news. And as always the iKentoo technical team is at your disposal to advise you based on your establishment’s specific situation.

Do you have any tips or ideas on how to stay protected? Let us know!