Data breaches in hospitality: is the industry different?

Academic Article


  • Purpose The purpose of this study is to expand on the existing literature by specifically examining data security incidents within the hospitality industry, assessing origins and causes, comparing breaches within the industry with those of other industries and identifying areas of concern. Design/methodology/approach A sample of data breach incidents is drawn from the Verizon VERIS Community Database (VCDB). Statistical comparisons between hospitality and non-hospitality industry firms are conducted following the Verizon A4 threat framework. Findings The results reveal that breaches between hospitality and non-hospitality firms differ significantly in terms of actors, actions, assets and attributes. Specifically, proportions of breaches in the hospitality industry are larger in terms of external actors, hacking and malware, user devices compromised and integrity violations. Additionally, compared to other industries, point-of-sales (POS) system breaches occur at a higher rate in the hospitality industry. The study finds that company size, hacking and malware predict the likelihood of a POS breach. Research limitations/implications The study uses secondary data and does not include the entire universe of data breaches. Originality/value In the quest to reduce data breach incidents, it is imperative to identify and assess the nature of data breach incidents between industries. Doing so permits the development of targeted industry-specific solutions rather than generic ones. This study systematically identifies differences between hospitality and non-hospitality data security incidents and then suggests areas where hospitality companies should focus future attention to mitigate breach incidents.
  • Authors

  • Gwebu, Kholekile
  • Barrows, Clayton W
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 20, 2020
  • Keywords

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data breach
  • Data security
  • Data vulnerability
  • Hacking
  • Hospitality industry
  • Information security
  • Malware
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 511
  • End Page

  • 527
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 3