Amadeus hosts inaugural regional cybersecurity forum for travel industry

A recent investigation by Cisco found that 75% of companies ( (of 130 organizations sampled) are affected by adware infections. With cyber-attacks becoming a growing threat worldwide, Amadeus East Africa in collaboration with a panel of sponsors hosted the first East Africa Cyber Security Forum with Joe Mucheru, CS, Ministry of ICT as chief guest.

The insightful session revolved around key topics such as: the role of government in cyber security, securing the connected devices, keeping at pace with criminal technology, securing cloud based applications, securing the mobile workforce, cyber security trends, and the legal framework on cyber security.

(TOP: L to R – Dennis Kabutha, Regional Operations Manager, Amadeus EA; Joe Mucheru, CS, ICT; Juan Torres, GM, Amadeus EA and Mohammed Wanyoike, Chairman, KATA).

Apart from CS Muchaeru, other key speakers at the session were: Juan Torres (GM, Amadeus EA), Dan Berte (Director, IoT BitDefender), Sam Migui (Security Account Manager, Cisco), George Munene (Director, Simplify IT), Geoffrey Munga (Senior Manager Technology Security, Safaricom), Bright Gameli CPTE (Co-Founder and Chair of AfricaHackon, Adcare), Sam Oduor (Lead Systems Engineer, Internet Solutions) and Juliet Wangui Maina (Associate, Triple O K Law). 

In his welcome remarks at the start of the forum,Juan Torres, Amadeus East Africa GM emphasized, “At Amadeus, we recognize the real threat that cyber-attacks pose to the region. Our industry is about service supported by technology where data and digitalization are contributing towards its evolution and growth. We saw it fit to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to offer our customers vital information and a platform to deliberate and build knowledge on cyber security as an important emerging issue.’’ 

Commenting on the role of the government, Mucheru noted: “The country is getting more digital, technology has to be harnessed and businesses must be visible online. We should not be scared of the threat of cyber-attacks but should collaboratively work together to ensure awareness is created. As a government, we are working towards putting in place critical infrastructure, systems and technical teams to maximize on connectivity. Further, clear penalties and guidelines to handling cyber-crimes are being put in place as included in the Computer Cyber Bill which is before parliament”

One of the highlights of the day was a hacking simulation conducted by Bright Gameli, co-founder and chairman of AfricaHackon where he reiterated,“Security starts with you and there is no 100% guarantee that one cannot be hacked. We are all vulnerable to cyber hacking and vigilance is key for everyone. There is need for more such forums to be organized so as to increase awareness and knowledge on attack mitigations.”

Some of the cyber security emerging trends highlighted by the key note speakers include:organised cyber-crimes, ransom ware, dark web, cyber terrorism, and the human element whereby personal identity and intellectual property is stolen or compromised.

In the coming months and in the short term, the private sector players and in particular travel industry will continue to work closely with government to ensure data protection is maintained for the safety and well-being of consumers and the industry stakeholders.

Amadeus is a provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry  with customer drawn from travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail and ferry operators, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and travel management companies).