3 Corporate Giants That Fell Afoul of Attacks By Cybercriminals

The revenue generated by a multibillion-dollar company not only benefits its shareholders, but it also helps to boost the GDP of the business’ home country, as well as potentially bolstering other economies around the world. Typically, such a company will employ tens of thousands of employees, providing them with a source of income, and enabling them to contribute to the public purse through their taxes, as well as generating economic growth via their spending. 

The positive economic impact of large-scale businesses is not limited to who the company pays. Companies also benefit the customers they serve, with household names like Google, Walmart, and Amazon enabling millions of consumers to access the products they want and need, be that for entertainment, or to help them generate an income. 

With billions of dollars in play, a big corporation is an obvious target for criminals. With large workforces often dispersed across multiple countries, they are high profile, dealing in huge sums of money, making them an attractive prospect for hackers and scammers. 

Regardless of the motive behind a cyberattack, the impact is always negative. Ransomware attacks can result in companies losing significant amounts of money, while leaked documents and files relating to upcoming products can potentially cost billions, particularly if they fall into the hands of a competitor. However, the most harmful and lasting consequence arises in a security breach where users’ personal information is made public. This information could range from something as basic as names, ages, and phone numbers to taxpayer identification numbers and bank details. Should this sensitive information fall into the wrong hands, the effects could be dire. A poll by Poneman Institute revealed that among participants who had been a victim of a data breach, 65% reported a subsequent lack of trust in the company, while 27% ceased doing business with them completely. 

Although small and medium-sized businesses are an easier and therefore more common target, for criminals who do manage to infiltrate a large corporation, the financial rewards can be vast. In this article, we look at three of the biggest companies to fall afoul of cybercriminals. 

1. Adobe 

In October 2013, Adobe announced that its IT infrastructure had been breached on a colossal scale. Infiltrating 38 million active accounts, hackers not only accessed names, logins, and passwords, but also credit card numbers and expiration dates. 

To access this data, the cybercriminals exploited a security breach related to security practices around passwords. Rather than being chopped, as recommended, the stolen passwords had been encrypted. Fortunately, this rendered any stolen bank data unusable due to the high quality of Adobe’s encryption. However, the cybercriminals targeted Adobe not just for customer information, but for product data, and the 40 GB of source code they managed to steal was the most worrying problem of all for Adobe. 

2. Yahoo 

2013 marked a busy year in cybercrime, with not only Adobe falling foul of hackers, but Yahoo too. However, in the latter case, it was not until four years later that the true scope of the breach was revealed. 

In August 2013, hackers accessed 3 billion user accounts. Investigations revealed that the attackers accessed account information such as plaintext passwords and security questions and answers, although bank data and payment card details were not exposed. 

The attack represented the largest breach of any company’s computer network, potentially providing hackers with the requisite information required to break into government computers around the world. 

Despite revelations over the true scale of the attack hitting the headlines in 2016, Verizon went ahead with its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo, albeit shaving $350 million off of its original offer. 

3. Marriott 

A security breach at the hotel group that opened up in 2014 was not spotted until 2018. It came to light that a lapse in security exposed the personal information of some 500 million guests of the Starwood hotel group, a Marriott subsidiary. The implications were huge, with information accessed ranging from names, phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses, to payment information, passport numbers, and even details about users’ Starwood Preferred Guest accounts, a high-end card program launched by American Express for regular travelers. 

In the United Kingdom alone, Marriot was fined $123 million by authorities for the breach. In July 2022, the hotel group revealed that it had become the victim of another attack, with another unknown actor breaching one of its properties, stealing 20GB of files. In this episode, however, the hackers only managed to breach just one property, gaining access to its network for a limited time. 

Exploring the History and Stunning Beauty of the Lakshadweep Islands

Translating from Malayalam to English as “one hundred thousand islands,” the Lakshadweep Islands form India’s smallest union territory, covering a total surface area of just 32 square kilometers. Its 36 islands have been severely impacted by climate change, with one island lost completely due to sea erosion. 

Unlike many Indian Ocean archipelagos, the Lakshadweep Islands have no aboriginal inhabitants. Scholars have proposed several different theories for the settlement of the Lakshadweep Islands, and archaeological evidence suggests that the region has been inhabited by humans since around 1500 BCE. 

Today, the islands are home to more than 60,000 people spread across 10 islands of the archipelago. Over the centuries, the Lakshadweep Islands have changed hands several times. 

The islands were mentioned in Buddhist Jataka stories dating to the sixth century BCE. In the seventh century, Islam was introduced to the region; it remains the majority religion today, with most of the indigenous population belonging to the Shafi school of the Sunni Muslim sect. 

Ethnically similar to the Malayali people found in the nearest Indian state, Kerala, most islanders speak Malayalam, although on Minicoy Island the most spoken language is Mahl. The Lakshadweep Islands are served by an airport on Agatti Island. The most popular occupations are coconut cultivation and fishing, and tuna is the Lakshadweep Islands’ main item of export. 

The Lakshadweep Islands’ capital is Kavaratti Island, which had a population of 11,210 as of the last census in 2011. Popular with snorkelers and scuba divers, the region is home to a diverse range of rare and exotic marine life, including lionfish, butterflyfish, rainbowfish, and surgeonfish, as well as sea turtles, giant clams, sea cucumber, and live corals in every color imaginable. 

Read on to learn more about some Lakshadweep Island attractions that astound and enthrall visitors from all over the world

1. Kadmat Island 

One of the archipelago’s most popular islands, Kadmat is spread over 100 meters and houses just one small village. In fact, on Kadmat Island, humans are easily outnumbered by sea turtles. 

Visitors to Kadmat Island can enjoy a variety of watersports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, and paragliding. The island is also renowned for its stunning sunrises and sunsets.  

To avoid torrential monsoon downpours, it is advisable to visit Kadmat only during the winter months (i.e., between October and March). 

2. Bangaram Island 

Bangaram Island lies 150 kilometers from Kadmat. Here, visitors can take a stroll or simply laze on the beach beneath the swaying palm trees, enjoying the unhurried pace of life while surrounded by the breathtaking spectacle of the region’s sparkling coral reefs. 

Inhabited by just 10 people, Bangaram covers 1.2 square kilometers and is the largest island in its atoll. Famous for its beautiful lagoon, the island boasts a luxury tourist resort that presents an array of activities, including night cruises across Bangaram’s perennially calm waters. 

3. Kavaratti Island 

A must-see for any visitor to the Lakshadweep Islands, Kavaratti Island offers cool, refreshing air, white sandy beaches, and brilliant blue lagoons to elevate the soul. Here, tourists can explore the Urja Mosque and Jamath Mosque among other fascinating island attractions, such as the Kavaratti Island Marine Aquarium. 

Like the rest of the Lakshadweep Islands, water sports are popular here, particularly parasailing, water skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, windsurfing, and water biking. In addition, a tour on a glass bottom boat is an excellent way to experience the island’s diverse marine life. 

4. Agatti Island 

Poised at the top of the Lakshadweep Islands, Agatti is just 8 kilometers long, making it easily traversable on foot. The natural beauty of this beach paradise with its sugar-white sands enthralls all who venture here. 

Despite being home to a population of just 8,000, Agatti is one of Lakshadweep’s most populous islands. The locals speak Malayalam and English. Featuring one of Lakshadweep’s most beautiful lagoons, Agatti Island is open to tourists, but a permit is required to visit. The island’s airstrips provide visitors with breathtaking views across the Arabian Sea on their approach. 

5. Thinnakara Island 

Famous for its palm trees, white sands, and crystal-clear azure waters, Thinnakara is perfect for romantic getaways and idyllic family vacations alike. After nightfall, the navy-blue skies are perfect for stargazing after sampling signature local dishes such as biryanis, idlis, and dosas. 

Featuring stunning marine flora and fauna as well as swaying palms and picture-perfect lagoons, Thinnakara’s beaches glow blue at night as phosphorescent plankton washes onto the coral sands, creating an unforgettably enchanting display. 

5 of Asia’s Most Impressive Natural Wonders

Home to internationally renowned cuisines, ancient temples, and fascinating architecture, Asia attracts travelers from all over the world, year upon year. From the fast-paced, exciting streets of Tokyo and Bangkok to the picture-perfect beaches of Halong Bay or Koh Phi, the continent has something to suit all tastes and budgets. In this article, we explore 10 unforgettable natural wonders in Asia, including Myanmar’s Southern Inle Lake, and Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.

1. Mount Everest (Tibet and Nepal)

The ultimate ambition for any climber, even reaching Base Camp is a major achievement for most mere mortals. Mount Everest is the Himalaya Mountains’ most prominent peak, forming an almost impenetrable boundary between Tibet and Nepal.

The Tibetan side of the mountain occupies a remote region of Tingri County in the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve. Rich in rare species, this national park is home to 2,000 plant species, 206 bird species, and 53 species of mammals, including the elusive snow leopard.

Meanwhile, the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is located in the remote district of Solukhumbu, near Kathmandu, a region famed for its extensive trails and stunning scenery that incorporates some 120 named mountains in total.

2. Southern Inle Lake (Myanmar)

Southern Inle Lake presents travelers with an unforgettable opportunity to experience untouched traditional villages and visit stunning ancient monasteries, as well as some very old wineries.

Although perhaps not best known for its viticulture historically, Myanmar is home to an up-and-coming winemaking industry, the country producing circa 37,500 cases of wine annually. Nestled in the lowlands near Inle Lake, located in the fertile Shan State region, the Red Mountain Estate is home to 400,000 grapevines imported from Spain and France, producing impressive Shiraz, Pinot Noire, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Southern Inle Lake is a wildlife sanctuary situated in a unique wetland that is known for its “floating gardens,” incorporating swamp forests, natural floating islets, deciduous and evergreen forests, and grasslands. The region is home to numerous rare and interesting bird species, including greater spotted eagle, purple heron, Indian shimmer, and lesser whistling ducks. The Pandaung Hill Tribe resides nearby, a local indigenous people who are famous throughout the world for their long-necked women, who wear brass coils around their necks.

3. Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park (China)

Created through the movement of tectonic plates combined with weathering of sandstone over millions of years, China Danxia was recognized by UNESCO in 2010. With several viewing platforms offering breathtaking vistas across these rainbow-colored rocks, the Zhangye Danxia landform is the largest, covering more than 3,200 square feet in total.

Known locally as the “Rainbow Mountains,” Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park’s landforms are a natural masterpiece, its vibrant mountain ridges resembling an upended color palette, its steep red cliffs, many of which stand several hundred meters high, striped with reds, browns, oranges, greys, and golden tones. 

4. Taman Negara National Park (Malaysia)

Established in 1938, Taman Negara spans the three Malaysian states of Terengganu, Kelantan, and Pahang. Dating back some 130 million years, Taman Negara is believed to be one of the oldest rainforests in the world, second only in age to Australia’s Daintree rainforest.

Taman Negara’s canopy walkway provides visitors with a unique perspective, enabling them to interact with the rainforest in a completely different way. Reputedly Malaysia’s longest suspension bridge, the walkway spans some 530 meters, and is a great way of admiring the forest canopy, providing glimpses of hornbills and other rare birds through the branches of the towering trees.

Standing 334 meters tall at its summit, nearby Bukit Teresek affords visitors spectacular views across Taman Negara, standing amidst a sea of rainforest on all sides. Experienced guides are available locally to escort tourists, pointing out local flora, fauna, and wildlife.

Taman Negera National Park is home to the Orang Asli indigenous people, who know the jungle intimately, harvesting sandalwood for export to some of the world’s most renowned perfume houses. They also forage from the jungle, using traditional hunting methods such as darts, and making fire without matches or lighters.

5. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls (China and Vietnam)

Just as Niagara Falls separates the United States and Canada, so Ban Gioc-Detian Falls form a border between China and Vietnam. Surrounded by green forest interspersed with karst rocks, these mighty twin waterfalls tumble in tiers to the powerful Quay Son River below. While the vertical drop is comparatively modest, it is the width of the cascades that makes Ban Geioc-Detian Falls such an impressive sight. 

You might expect such a stunning attraction to be overrun with tourists, but this is not the case, the site attracting mainly domestic visitors from China and Vietnam. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls has stayed largely off the radar of international travelers, although some intrepid backpackers are beginning to add the attraction to their Vietnam itinerary, and for good reason. Measuring 30 meters high and 300 meters across, Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in all of Asia.

Travel Focus: How International Tourism Has Changed over the Years

Humankind has always felt a strong urge to travel, be it to discover and conquer new realms or simply for enjoyment. 

Focusing on leisure, learning, and fun, the roots of modern tourism can be traced back to the 17th century when young men from Western and Northern European nobility embarked on “the Grand Tour.” A forerunner to the modern gap year, this extensive trip typically encompassed regions of France, Germany, Greece, and Italy. The purpose of a Grand Tour was to expose young gentlemen to European art, history, and cultural heritage, effectively rounding off their education and preparing them for life as independent adults. 

The Grand Tour became popular with Americans in the 18th century. 

Toward the end of the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution sparked a period of technological and social transformation that spread across the globe. These far-reaching changes triggered a mass exodus from rural regions to rapidly expanding cities, where the influx of labor drove industry. 

America’s first travel agency was founded in 1887. 

In 1887 Walter T. Brownell launched Brownell Travel in New York, leading a party of 10 travelers on a sailing tour across Europe, departing New York aboard the SS Devonia. 

Subsequently, in 1895, Alfred K. Baldwin founded the UK’s first travel agency. In Japan, Nippon Travel Agency opened its doors in 1905. China’s first travel agency was founded in 1923 by K. P. Chen after he experienced poor service from a British travel agency. Meanwhile, it was not until 1929 that the Soviet Union opened its first travel agency to attract foreign visitors to the country. 

Interest in international travel took a nosedive during World War I and II. 

Following World War II, increasing ease and affordability of travel triggered expansion in mass-market package tours, resulting in a proliferation of travel agencies targeting working-class individuals and families. 

Tourism grew fast in the late 20th century due to increased disposable income.  

In the mid-1900s, more and more households found they had money left over after paying the bills. In addition, increasing numbers of workers started to receive paid vacation days.  

Travel has become easier and more economical over the years. In 2022 many people have their own cars and drive on roads and highways that are better maintained, making it easier for them to travel farther in less time. In addition, flights have also become drastically more affordable over the years. 

In 1950 there were 25 million tourists globally, rising to 1.5 billion in 2019. 

The latter part of the 20th century saw massive increases in the number of people joining the middle class. Combined with the falling cost of travel and the emergence of low-cost airlines, the impact on both social interactions and business models was revolutionary, driving a vast increase in tourism. 

Technological advancements have transformed the travel industry. 

Over the last 20 years, the digital revolution has impacted virtually every aspect of our daily lives, including tourism and travel. Tamara Lohan, the cofounder and chief technology officer of Mr & Mrs Smith, a boutique hotels website, explains that today, more people are traveling than ever before, with companies like Airbnb encouraging young people to start exploring sooner and more cost-effectively. Technology presents us with an unprecedented amount of information on travel destinations, enabling those planning their dream vacation to check out local attractions and amenities in advance. 

Hundreds of thousands of travel blogs cover almost every place on Earth. 

Just a decade ago, travelers were largely reliant on guidebooks like Lonely Planet to plan their adventures and learn about places they intended to visit. In 2022 bloggers all over the world share stories, photos, and helpful information about travel destinations. Many of today’s bloggers have turned professional, earning a respectable income by partnering with travel companies and resorts and even competing with travel companies like Tripadvisor for top rankings on Google. From the traveler’s perspective, this has led to a huge rise in easy-to-access information on travel destinations over the last decade. 

Online travel agencies like Expedia have revolutionized the tourism industry. 

Although some people were venturing online to organize their foreign trips a decade ago, today it is considered the norm, with 80 percent of tourists booking their trips, reserving hotel accommodations, buying plane tickets, and planning excursions via the Internet. 

The rise of online travel agencies has had a significant impact on brick-and-mortar travel agents, with footfall rapidly declining over the last 10 years, triggering the demise of industry giants. Nevertheless, there remains a demand for the specialist services of traditional travel agents in some quarters. For those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience, particularly high-net-worth individuals, paying a professional to do all of the leg work is still appealing. 

5 of the Hottest Post-COVID Travel and Tourism Trends Ahead

The spread of COVID-19 around the world, along with subsequent lockdowns, border closures, and quarantining policies, had a catastrophic impact on international travel. According to the International Monetary Fund, tourist arrivals fell globally by over 65 percent in the first half of 2020, with a virtual standstill in April that year. 

From Africa’s vast safari parks to the picture-perfect beaches of the Caribbean, countries all over the world grappled with luring visitors back while simultaneously protecting their citizens against new outbreaks and strains of COVID-19.

Before the arrival of COVID-19, travel and tourism was one of the most important sectors in the global economy, accounting for some 320 million jobs worldwide and approximately 10 percent of the global GDP. At the advent of the jet age in 1950, 25 million people traveled internationally. By 2019, that figure had snowballed to 1.5 billion, with the travel and tourism sector dominating the economies of many countries.

National vaccination programs have been a phenomenal success, potentially saving millions of lives and reducing pressure on domestic healthcare systems. With infection rates continuing to shrink in virtually every country, growing numbers of consumers are experiencing wanderlust. But as we venture from the shadow of COVID-19, the travel industry is witnessing the emergence of several new trends. From the soaring popularity of multigenerational family vacations to increased interest in sustainable tourism, we explore five strong travel trends we expect to see ahead.

1.   Continued emphasis on public health

Even in the wake of highly successful vaccination programs, on the whole, consumers remain extremely safety conscious. According to a survey by PwC, 85 percent of travelers are already vaccinated or planning to be, while 70 percent favor vaccination verification when traveling.

PwC also reports that 56 percent of vacationers support policies preventing people from traveling unless they present proof of vaccination. Just 14 percent of respondents said they would object to being asked for proof of vaccination. In addition, 28 percent of travelers polled planned to stay at higher-end accommodations than they did pre-pandemic, associating premium properties with enhanced public health protocols.

2.   Increased interest in staycations and alternative modes of travel

Domestic tourism surged during the pandemic, and travelers tended not to go too far even when they did venture outside their country. In June 2021, with national vaccination schemes well underway and infection rates falling all over the world, Visa analysis suggests that the top vacation destination among French travelers was France itself, followed by bordering countries like Spain and Italy.

In addition to vacationers tending to stay closer to home, there was also increased interest in alternative modes of travel such as train and car, with the market shifting away from air travel.

3.   A rise in multigenerational vacations

COVID-19 lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines resulted in family members having to spend extended periods apart. Moving forward, spending time with loved ones is likely to be a priority for many, with experts predicting significant interest in multigenerational travel as family members, particularly grandparents and grandchildren, come together to make new memories following two years of separation.

4.   An uptick in sustainable travel

Taking advantage of the substantive pause in international travel, innovators have assessed the travel and tourism sector, seeking out new ways to make the industry more sustainable in this forever changed, post-COVID world.

Soon after border closures and lockdowns put the brakes on international travel, substantial ecological benefits soon became evident. In cities, air pollution fell dramatically. Fish were seen swimming in the canals of Venice after a decades-long absence.

In 2019 the global tourism industry accounted for around 5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Even before COVID, increased emphasis was being placed on sustainability. Capitalizing on increased consumer consciousness, destinations like the Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu Rei Hotel are leading the way. Touted as the world’s first “hydrogen hotel,” the Tokyu Rei Hotel generates 100 percent of the energy it uses from waste food and plastic, making effective use of hydrogen energy to combat pollution.

5.   New booking behaviors

Travel industry experts report that vacationers are becoming increasingly opportunistic, often waiting until the last minute to strike a better deal, particularly in the case of domestic travel. At the same time, lingering uncertainty regarding potential future outbreaks or the emergence of new strains of COVID-19 has made consumers reluctant to book vacations months or even years in advance, as was commonplace in the past.

Barclaycard vice president of product management Florian Bach reports that, in Germany, most travel bookings are currently being made less than a month in advance, compared with up to a year in advance before the pandemic, with a marked consumer preference for travel options offering high levels of security and flexibility.

7 Unforgettable Attractions That No Visitor to Singapore Should Miss

Comprising 64 offshore islands in addition to the main island, Singapore has delighted travelers for centuries with its opulent splendor. At Jewel Changi Airport, international arrivals are greeted by a space-age indoor garden featuring the world’s largest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex. The waterfall stretches 40 meters into the air and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Indeed, Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world today, rich in biodiversity. From Gardens by the Bay to Mandai Night Safari, we explore seven of the most exciting tourist attractions that Singapore has to offer.

1. Gardens by the Bay

These sprawling parklands were created to enhance quality of life for residents of Singapore. However, this gigantic garden is not only popular with the locals, but a great place for tourists to explore. The gardens’ three main attractions are the Supertrees, the Cloud Forest, and the Flower Dome.

Consisting of artificial trees within a steel scaffold, the Supertrees have solar collectors on top, effectively turning sunlight into electricity. This power is used to illuminate the trees at night in an arresting, multicolored display. Meanwhile, the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are two enormous greenhouses with radically different climates, where visitors can view plant species from various regions of the world.

2. National Gallery Singapore

Featuring more than 9,000 works, National Gallery Singapore is the largest public modern art collection in the whole of Southeast Asia. The gallery is located within a pair of national monuments: the nation’s former Supreme court and City Hall.

Guests can easily spend most of the day exploring the gallery’s many exhibits. Highlights include its thought-provoking Between Declarations and Dreams exhibition. It looks at Southeast Asian art’s ongoing encounter with the new, exploring how artists negotiate meaning and expression.

3. Jurong Bird Park

Home to more than 400 bird species, Jurong Bird Park covers more than 50 acres in Western Singapore. Here, visitors have the opportunity to see a variety of different bird species up close during daily feeding sessions, observing iridescent starling, turaco, and crested guinea fowl.

Asia’s largest bird park and the first wildlife park in Singapore, Jurong Bird Park has regular shows, tours, and “feed the animals” experiences. The venue even hosts night photography courses. Participants gain hands-on experience, learning unique night photography tricks and tips.

4. Mandai Night Safari

In contrast with most safari parks, Mandai Night Safari comes alive at dusk rather than dawn. From within this dimly lit complex, visitors can watch the nocturnal inhabitants undertake their nightly routines. The park’s 2,500 residents can be viewed up close on the world’s first night safari tour.

Featured species include aardvark, spotted hyena, Malayan tapir, Malayan tiger, sloth bear, and bushbaby. Home to 130 species in total, the park includes four footpaths, including the popular Leopard Trail and Fishing Cat Trail. Visitors can explore Mandai Night Safari—either by foot or by open-sided guided tram ride—journeying through six of the world’s geographical regions and observing their unique nocturnal populations.

5. Tanjong Beach

Located on Sentosa Island, Tanjong is popular with backpackers and nature lovers. Featuring a seemingly never-ending stretch of pristine white sand, Tanjong Beach is quieter than other beaches on Sentosa Island. It provides those seeking a slower pace with the perfect place to soak up the sun, relax on golden sands, and enjoy a dip in the tranquil sea.

Visitors can take their pick of the themed restaurants, bistros, and bars that line the beach front. The twinkling lights of the ships on the ocean form a romantic backdrop for this stretch of beach. It is known for its sunsets, which set the sky ablaze with rich reds, pinks, oranges, and golds as the sun plummets into the ocean.

6. Little India

Although better known for its glitz and glam, advanced architecture, and sky-high buildings, Singapore is also home to Little India. The Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association organizes a comprehensive catalogue of annual events, including Tamil New Year celebrations, Pongal festivities, the Deepavali light up, and the Singapore food festival.

Little India’s ultra-colorful malls and shops sell a variety of wares, from antiques and artisan jewelry to fresh produce to electronics. While somewhat less chaotic than its namesake, Little India retains its own distinct charm without being gimmicky. It is one of the most interesting, colorful, and unique places to shop in all of Singapore.

7. Marina Bay Sands

Built in 2010, the Marina Bay Sands is a steel and glass goliath that offers unparalleled views of the Singapore skyline. Standing 625 feet high, the luxury complex is more than just a hotel. It incorporates a shopping mall, conference center, casino, and numerous nightclubs, restaurants, and bars. The Skypark’s 360 degree viewing platform is open for all, although its world-famous infinity pool is reserved for hotel guests only.

6 of the World’s Most Impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

Currently, there are more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To meet UNESCO eligibility criteria, a location must have a cultural or natural heritage that is of “outstanding value to humanity.” Sites must be unique landmarks that are historically and geographically identifiable, with special physical or cultural import.  

A World Heritage Site may consist of human habitations, including historic structures or ancient ruins, cities, monuments, or other buildings. Alternatively, they may comprise deserts, islands, forests, lakes, mountains, or other wilderness areas. It may serve as evidence of humankind’s cognitive ancestry, mark a remarkable accomplishment, or simply be a place of outstanding natural beauty

Here are six of the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites in existence today: 

1. Old City of Jerusalem, Israel 

With its bustling markets and ancient alleyways, the Old City of Jerusalem contains more than 200 historical monuments, each with tremendous religious significance. At the heart of the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish religions, the one-square-kilometer Old City is home to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock. 

According to Christian teachings, it was in Jerusalem that Jesus was crucified and buried. Comprising the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter, the Old City has its own unique character, sights, sounds, smells, and experiences to amaze and amuse visitors. 

2. Cappadocia, Turkey 

Listed by UNESCO in 1985, Cappadocia is one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. The terrain was carved by layers of lava spewing from volcanoes approximately 60 million years ago. Inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era, Cappadocia later become a Christian sanctuary. Cappadocia’s houses and churches were carved into the rock, where they provided shelter and served as cultural and educational centers for Christians escaping Roman oppression. 

Cappadocia is one of the world’s largest and most striking cave-dwelling complexes. The region is packed with ancient settlements, churches, subterranean cities, and troglodyte villages. The unique surroundings make Cappadocia popular with nature lovers. What better way to enjoy the harmony of history and fantastic scenery than by viewing Cappadocia from above as part of a daybreak hot air balloon tour. 

3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia  

Comprising more than 2,900 reefs and 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world. Located just off Queensland’s east coast, the Great Barrier Reef is easily accessible from the nearby Metropolis of Cairns. Appearing on the bucket lists of many travelers, the Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,600 species of fish as well as stunning corals, rare whale species, giant claims, and marine turtles.  

There is plenty to see and just as many ways of experiencing it, from scuba diving to tours presented by educational institutions. Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef are also encouraged to play a part helping to protect this iconic landmark. There are many minimal impact tour options to choose from that focus on preservation, conservation, and restoration of this amazing natural resource. 

4. Rapa Nui National Park, Chile 

Situated 2,200 miles from the coast, Rapa Nui National Park (a.k.a. Easter Island) rewards visitors who make the arduous journey with the spectacular sight of 900 maoi. Carved and transported to their current location by Polynesian settlers, some of these gargantuan statues with oversized heads date back to the 10th century. 

Ranging from 6 to 30 or more feet in height, these colossal effigies represent the faces of deified ancestors. They are often arranged around ahu, a type of ceremonial platform. 

5. Angkor Wat, Cambodia 

The largest religious monument on Earth, parts of Angkor Wat were built in the 9th century. More than 2 million people visit this creative masterwork every year, making it one of the most-visited historical sites in the world. 

Spread over more than 400 acres, this mysterious temple complex is nestled deep in the Cambodian jungle. Over the centuries, Mother Nature has tried to claim the land back, with tree roots strangling temples and vast sandstones strewn on the ground. Intricate bas-reliefs tell ancient stories intended to be read counterclockwise, the reverse of the normal order. Experts interpret this as an indication that the temple was used for funeral sacraments. 

The Khmer used 5 million tons of sandstone to build Angkor Wat. Blocks were transported there from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, more than 50 kilometers away. Archaeologists believe construction took 35 years and, according to inscriptions, it involved 6,000 elephants and 300,000 laborers. 

6. Giant’s Causeway, United Kingdom 

One of the top attractions in Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is a remarkable rock formation that was created by years of volcanic activity. Today, visitors are greeted by the striking sight of 40,000 colossal basalt columns rising out of the ocean. Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists for generations. 

Visitors can learn how the phenomenon was formed by taking a tour with one of the venue’s award-winning storytellers. Tours run every hour, with options available to suit all age groups, and information available in 11 languages. 

5 of the Top Cybersecurity Threats for Businesses You Need to Be Aware Of 

As businesses across many different trades embrace digitization, board members are becoming increasingly cybersecurity savvy. According to Menlo Security, as of 2022, 85 percent of corporate boards have become more engaged with cybersecurity compared with two years previous. 

Spurred by the global pandemic and resulting changes in working practices and consumer preferences, digital transformation initiatives have accelerated dramatically. This means it is more important than ever for businesses to invest in robust cybersecurity measures.  

From increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks to mobile security, we look at five vulnerabilities commonly targeted by cybercriminals. 

1. Social Engineering Attacks 

This type of attack involves human and social interactions rather than code being downloaded onto your computer via an Internet connection. Human beings are much more convincing than computers, leaving us vulnerable to manipulation via a social engineering attack. 

In fact, according to Straight Edge Technology, social engineering attacks are one of the biggest security risks today. Experts estimate that over 90 percent of business data breaches arise because cybercriminals successfully manage to deceive employees. Scammers may convince employees to provide valuable information, give them access to data or software, and otherwise deviate from routine security procedures. 

Social engineering attacks typically appeal to a person’s emotions—for example, a desire to help someone in need. The attacker may pose as family member or fellow employee and request access to a bank account, sensitive data, or a document. A properly built IT system can protect against malware attacks. However, all systems are vulnerable to human error, such as an employee divulging their password to a hacker posing as their manager or colleague. 

To combat the problem, many employers stage regular training sessions to help employees recognize social engineering cyberattack strategies. It is crucial for all employees to follow company policy when working with sensitive data. 

2. Ransomware Attacks 

A ransomware attack is a form of cyberattack where cybercriminals infiltrate a business’s computer network. They then encrypt the data and demand a payment for business owners to be able to access their own files again. Ransomware attacks are extremely disruptive for both small businesses and large multinationals alike, since the business owner has relatively few options once files have been encrypted. 

During the 2021 SolarWinds breach, hackers deployed malicious code to thousands of businesses and government agencies worldwide. Experts predict that ransomware attacks will remain a serious threat through 2022 and beyond, with increasingly advanced ransomware programs making their way into the network of unsuspecting businesses.  

Due to the nature of ransomware attacks, it is difficult for cybersecurity measures to deflect them. This is in part because encryption methods are constantly changing. 

3. Machine Learning and AI Attacks 

Machine Learning and AI are incredibly beneficial in terms of developing cybersecurity solutions. However, they can have a disastrous impact when used with malicious intent. 

Cybercriminals are leveraging the power of Machine Learning and AI to design increasingly sophisticated campaigns. They use these technologies to speed up and intensify cyberattacks and more quickly gain access to sensitive databases and critical networks. These types of attacks are occurring with increasing frequency, according to CSO Online. As of this writing, many recent large-scale attacks were carried out using Machine Learning and AI. 

4. Mobile Security Threats 

Today’s smartphones benefit from processing power to rival any computer. Unfortunately, few of us prioritize installing cybersecurity prevention methods on our cell phones in the same way that we do our PCs. 

With an increasing number of businesses integrating smartphones into daily operations, a new avenue has opened up for cybercriminals. Cell phones serve as the preferred means of signing into email, banking, and numerous other repositories of private information. 

Cell phones are also being used more and more by remote workers to coordinate with their laptop workstations. This means it is particularly important for business owners to recognize tactics used by cybercriminals to breach mobile phone security. 

Anyone can make an app, a fact that cybercriminals know all too well. In fact, the most likely method of a virus making your way onto your phone is via an app you intentionally downloaded. Many seemingly innocent apps are embedded with malware, or you may accidentally download a copycat of a popular app.  

In addition, traditional methods of virus transmission—such as email links and embedded websites—can infect your cell phone just as they do a laptop or desktop computer. Cybercriminals are also beginning to stage sophisticated attacks that infiltrate WiFi networks and infect all linked devices. This means it is particularly important for business owners to be vigilant about mobile security. 

5. Cloud Vulnerabilities 

Cloud technology relieves businesses of the burden of storing huge volumes of data on their hardware and electronic devices. Cloud technology has numerous advantages from a business owner’s perspective. However, increased use of cloud technology has spurred a corresponding increase in cyberattacks against cloud services and providers. 

Not all cloud applications were created equal in terms of encryption and authentication standards. Many do not meet industry requirements. It is crucial for business owners to do their homework, ensuring that sufficient security procedures are in place to protect business networks and data. 

The Most Unusual Wellness Experiences from around the World

One of the fastest growing sectors of the global tourism industry, wellness tourism caters to vacationers who want to keep up with their healthy lifestyles while they are away on vacation, for example, participating in meditation, or yoga. With an increased public appetite for outdoor activities, sleep enhancement, transformative experiences, and digital detox, we explore a selection of venues from around the world offering one-of-a-kind wellness experiences. 

David Geithner in Sweden

Open-Air Cold Baths – Sweden 

The ideal place to observe the northern lights through the winter months and the midnight sun in the summer, Arctic Bath is a luxurious hotel and spa that invites guests to immerse themselves in the natural elements while leaving behind a minimal environmental footprint. Here, visitors can experience an invigorating open-air cold bath, revitalizing them from the inside out as they take in the natural beauty surrounding them. The retreat also offers a variety of different treatments from certified therapists, including Swedish arctic massages, an intensive treatment for stiff, tired muscles that is combined with stretching and rocking exercises. 

When the human body is exposed to extreme cold, this sudden shock activates the same “fight or flight” response that is triggered by danger or stress. This in turn leads to the release of noradrenaline, a stress hormone that improves alertness and concentration. Research from the UK suggests that swimming in cold water can speed up metabolism, boost the immune system, improve circulation, and help participants gain a better night’s sleep. The surge of adrenaline created by immersion in cold water releases powerful endorphins, reportedly creating a feeling of euphoria, warding off depression and anxiety, and helping us to better manage stress. 

Radon Therapy – Austria 

A source of natural radon, Gastein’s thermal waters have attracted international attention for their purported health benefits. Often used for rehabilitation after illness, radon therapies can reportedly help alleviate symptoms of some chronic conditions, as well as help people to cope with psychological stress. 

Kurzentrum Bad Hofgastein treatment center features tubs holding 480 liters of spring water maintained at a comfortable temperature of between 36 and 38°C. Due to the buoyancy of warm water, the bather becomes almost weightless while relaxing in the tub for between 15 and 22 minutes, allowing the natural radon content to be absorbed through the skin and respiratory passages. Radon baths reputedly restore rhythm to the nervous system, stimulate cell renewal, and kickstart the metabolic system.  

Guests partaking in radon thermal sub-aqua therapy can supplement the treatment with a pressurized water-jet massage, or Glisson sling. Sub-aqua therapy is commonly used in the treatment of neurological complaints, post operative conditions involving weakened musculature and limited mobility, and degenerative ailments of the joints and spine. 

Silent Retreat – United Kingdom 

We live in a frenetic world today, bombarded by digital media from the moment we wake until the moment we sleep. Silent retreats offer an opportunity to escape the stresses, strains, and struggles of daily life, abandoning all manner of external communication, and focusing on the simplicity, stillness, freedom, and joy in each present moment. 

Situated in the tranquil settling of Sharpham House, surrounded by the scenic, rolling countryside of Devonshire, England, this retreat is intended for individuals who have prior experience in mindfulness meditation. Although spending extended periods in silence may seem a daunting or awkward prospect, participants often discover that the experience is conducive to creating a surprisingly rich sense of connection, enabling them to experience stillness and quiet, letting go of the usual social conventions, while still enjoying supportive company. 

Guests do not have to spend their entire stay in silence. Each morning, there is an opportunity to connect with their home group and share experiences if they choose, in addition to some guided meditation sessions. The rest of the time, the retreat is in silence, including during group activities, such as walking and nature connection, as well as at mealtimes.  

Forest Bathing – Japan 

Known as shinrin yoku in its native Japan, forest bathing is the simple practice of walking through the forest, observing nature, and breathing deeply while remaining calm and quiet. Forest bathing is an excellent activity for adults and children alike, encouraging participants to engage in gentle outdoor exercise, experiencing the restorative, soothing influence of their natural surroundings while teaching mindfulness and concentration at the same time. 

Located in the untouched beech forests of Nagano, Japan, the Mindfulness in Nature & Forest Therapy Retreat offers seven-night experiences focusing on techniques, training, and practice. Guests spend a session guided by Naoko Ito, an experienced forest therapy practitioner, as well as half-day and full-day excursions to regions steeped in Japanese history and tradition. Located near a hot spring, nestled in the mountains near Odiya Onsen, the hotel is surrounded by wild forests, providing a lush, tranquil setting. Nearby Mount Akashina towers above Odani village, providing a stunning backdrop. 

6 of the Top Wineries to Visit in Asia 

Asia is perhaps one of the most underrated wine-growing regions in the world. There are several wineries across the Asian continent producing wine that competes at the highest level. From India to China, we look at Asia’s wine-growing heritage and some of the sumptuous wines produced on the continent. 

1. Sula Vineyards – India 

Dubbed the “Napa Valley of India,” Sula Vineyards was established in 1999 by Rajeev Samant after he discovered the vast potential of his family’s land in Nashik, India (not far from Mumbai), a region renowned for producing high-quality table grapes. Boasting incredibly fertile volcanic soil, the area has significant regional variations in terroir, from heavy clay earth to weathered basalt. Nashik’s temperate climate makes it the perfect environment for viniculture. Sula Vineyards produces whites, reds, rosés, and sparkling wines. 

Enveloped by nature, this enthralling winery is an ideal picnic spot. Visitors can also partake in winery tours, tasting sessions, and gourmet dining. Sula Vineyards has been recognized with a variety of coveted industry awards, including a Gold Award for its Chenin Blanc 2019 from the India Wine Awards; a Silver Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2020 for its Dindori Reserve Viognier; and 90 Points for its Shula Shiraz 2019 in Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 Best Buying Guide. 

2. Banan Winery – Cambodia 

Located 12 kilometers from Battambang, Cambodia, on the banks of the Sangkar River, Banan Winery grew from vines introduced from France. Today it encompasses eight hectares of land. 

Named after the nearby Banan temple, the winery was established in 1999 by Leng Chan Tol and her husband, Chan Thai Chhoung, who taught himself to make wine by reading books translated from French to Khmer and reaching out to experts for advice. By 2004, the couple had managed to bottle their first batch of wines. Today, Banan Winery produces 10,000 bottles of their Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon blend annually, along with the smooth, golden Phnom Banon Brandy.  

3. Changyu Pioneer Wine Company – China 

It may surprise you to learn that China has more grape-growing acreage than France. In fact, the country ranks as the world’s sixth-largest wine-consuming nation and the seventh-largest wine producer today. Some of the world’s most prestigious wineries, including Château Lafite-Rothschild, have invested in China’s up-and-coming viniculture industry. 

Founded in 1892, Changyu Pioneer Wine Company plants its vineyards with vine cuttings imported from France. Today, Changyu covers 35,000 hectares of China’s best wine-growing regions, including parts of Yinjiang, Liaoning, Ningxia, and the Penglai peninsula. Incorporating eight chateaux, including Yantai Chateau Changyu-Castel, the Changyu Pioneer Wine Company operates China’s oldest and largest professional international winery. 

4. Hatten Wines – Indonesia 

World famous for its ripe, fruity rosés, Hatten Wines has been producing award-winning wines on the island of Bali since 1994. This family-owned vineyard aims to produce quality wines that complement Indonesia’s spicy food and tropical climate. 

Guided by esteemed Australian winemaker James Kalleske, Hatten Wines’ portfolio has expanded over more than 20 years of experimentation, adjustments, and reinvention. Today, Hatten Wines has a solid international reputation, crystalizing its position as one of the main players in the Asian winemaking market when it claimed the Asian Wine Review’s 2017 Winery of the Year Award. 

5. Monsoon Valley – Thailand 

Occupying 560 rolling acres, the Monsoon Valley estate is located near Thailand’s border with Burma, offering fantastic views across the lush green Hua Hin hills. 

Monsoon Valley was founded by wine-loving entrepreneur Chalerm Yoovidhya in 2001 as part of his vision to inspire a Thai wine culture. After returning from studies abroad, Yoovidhya recognized the potential of establishing a vineyard in his beloved native Thailand. After creating his first vineyard in Khao Yai, an area of Thailand with a long history of grape-growing, Yoovidhya realized that the area’s rich, fertile soil and climate conditions were perfectly suited to producing Shiraz. Following his initial success in Khao Yai, Yoovidhya started exploring other areas of Thailand that showed potential for producing great wines. 

Lasting from June to October, the monsoon season is when farmers collect water to sustain them through the dry season. It is considered a life-giving period in Thai folklore, as without the rain, no agriculture would be possible in Thailand. Monsoon Valley’s characteristic label symbolizes the fertility and prosperity the monsoon rains bring to the region. 

6. Red Mountain Estate – Myanmar 

Situated in Myanmar’s Southern Shan State, Red Mountain was established in 2003, when its founder imported 400,000 vines from Spain, France, and Israel. The Red Mountain Estate started production in 2007 and releases more than 16,000 cases of wine a year, from reds like Malbec, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon to whites like Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. 

Myanmar’s only winery, Red Mountain is a popular stop for tourists visiting Inle Lake. They often negotiate the 30-minute journey by bicycle, although tuk-tuks are also available.