by Matt Alderton | October 09, 2018
If you think cybercriminals are only interested in major corporations like Target and Equifax, think again. The truth is: Cybercriminals will target anyone, anywhere -- including meeting planners and attendees at business events.

"Cybercrime will cost the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to global research company Cybersecurity Ventures, and many cybercriminals target small businesses -- including plenty of meeting planners," reports Successful Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle.

According to Doyle, meeting planners who want to protect their attendees from cybercriminals should create an Information Security Management System.

"Meetings are vulnerable because they are generally very open events, with many people using many types of wireless computing devices. Attendees' devices usually connect to open networks, which by definition have no encryption, no password or one shared password for everyone," Doyle says. "A good place to begin the fight against these attacks is to create an Information Security Management System. An ISMS is a defined management system that explains what needs to be done to protect data and to establish policies, processes and systems to manage risks."

Potential threats include hackers and other malicious actors on wireless networks; malware being spread through Wi-Fi; and skimmers placed in USB chargers, ATMs, credit-card readers, etc., that exfiltrate data from the devices/cards using them.

"[Your ISMS] should define what type of data your organization is focused on protecting and the steps being taken to secure that data," Doyle says. "Ensuring that your security efforts align with your policy will help you to identify and implement best practices and can foster greater organizational support in the event of an incident."