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Security issues with hotel and ticket reservation websites

The Internet has quietly revolutionized the world. It has made the completion of tasks easy and fast, making us very dependent on it in almost every aspect of our lives. One of the earliest revolutions took place in the banking industry, followed by ticket booking services, after the US military announced their ARPANET project and allowed universities and businesses to take advantage of this wonderful technology.

Interestingly, computer and programming geeks create primitive web-based ticket reservation systems with the Java language, considered by many to be the language of the Internet. They do it for their academic projects in their schools and colleges, and these applications are insignificant in terms of the commercial versions. But the matter was discussed to make the reader realize the popularity of these theses internet-based ticket booking applications.

Now getting to the main point, online ticket reservations and hotel reservation systems often provide the option of paying the required amount online, which is called bank transfer in plain language. These sites use third-party plug-ins via APIs that integrate their site’s database with the bank’s computer systems and servers through a software-defined network device called the Payment Gateway.

In general, these payment portals are extremely secure environments that use Secured Socket Layer or SSL algorithms, which can be 64 bit or 128 bit encryption algorithms, based on the requirement. 128 bit SSL algorithms are the most secure algorithms implemented in the public domain for the purpose of securing money transfer environments and encrypting the sensitive information with a very secure process that is extremely difficult to crack by current standards.

The problem, or rather, loopholes lie in the internal data storage mechanisms implemented by third-party ticket booking sites. Sometimes, in order to reduce the cost of maintaining high security standards, these sites do not take appropriate precautions to ensure that payment-related information is secure on their servers. It may also be the fact that their server or database administrators are not skilled enough to ensure that strict security measures are put in place.

It is possible that even if no security breach occurs on part of your bank’s transfer system, security loops may be found on the hotel’s or airline’s own website. If their servers are hacked and the data is properly extracted by any expert hacker, your entire financial transaction information, including your credit card information, will be in front of the hacker.

The hacker can simply download or copy the information to another own system and use the same to perform unauthorized transactions and money transfers. Although banks use dual-layer verification methods to mitigate such fraud, the process is far from fully proven.

Therefore, think twice before you trust third party hotel and ticket booking service. Even the best hotel booking service providers are vulnerable to such server attacks from cyber experts, and they do very little to plug loopholes in their systems and servers.