Global Travel deploys AI to safeguard travellers’ sensitive information

The travel industry and its customers are increasingly the targets of cyberattacks as criminals seek to monetise highly valuable travel data

In light of recent cybersecurity issues, Singapore-based Global Travel has engaged global cyber artificial intelligence (AI) company Darktrace to help better protect confidential traveller information.

While the locally-owned TMC already complies with Singaporean data privacy regulations under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), Darktrace helps the organisation better secure its confidential information with the help of AI.

The travel industry and its customers are increasingly the targets of cyberattacks as criminals seek to steal and monetise valuable travel data

The AI, a self-learning technology, sits at the core of Global Travel’s digital systems, and watches for anomalies amid the noise of everyday activity 24/7. Should a potential threat slip through perimeter defences, Darktrace is able to isolate the activity, and notify the system user, who will then be able to suspend the activity and investigate the problem.

James Chua, general manager, Global Travel, called Darktrace a “necessary investment to better serve his customers, and differentiate the company from the rest of the field”, as he can reassure his clients that their data is absolutely safe with Global Travel.

When asked what security protocols there were pre-Darktrace, Chua said: “We relied very much on endpoint protection – better known as antiviruses and firewalls. But these did not have a round-the-clock monitoring system in place, and only prevented external attacks.” In comparison, Darktrace watches the goings-on from within.

However, cyber threats may not necessary be external, for data leaks are most likely to happen at the customer-facing stage, Chua pointed out, especially from staff members who obtain sensitive information from customers. And cyber threats can take the form of phishing emails that staff or clients unknowingly click, which will be able to retrieve and steal confidential information.

“In the unlikely event something happens, Darktrace will be able to isolate, track the source, and give us time to investigate without incurring any possible damage (in a matter of seconds),” said Chua.

“As for the traveller who’s had their data stolen, they should contact their assigned sales manager as soon as possible, so we can conduct due diligence,” he added.

But of course, it’s best that such cybersecurity issues be a non-event, he stressed. To lower risk exposure, Global Travel conducts IT education sessions on a monthly basis, where topics range from spotting potential security threats to training their staff on how to better secure data.

Chua: prevent measures to ensure no data leakage from the onset

In addition, Global Travel has also hired an assigned data protection officer, who has been tasked with being fully aware of the legislations and policies currently in play, and matching it with the company’s policy governance.

“As a TMC, we deal with many different nationalities. We can’t just comply with Singapore’s PDPA. IATA, and the various airlines, have their own set of regulations, plus we cannot ignore Europe’s GDPR. While there’s no mandate we need to follow, it’s all about putting a programme in place to serve our customers better.

“Our approach is simple, we just want to prevent any threat from happening,” concluded Chua.

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