Hackers cause hotel to ditch keycards for old-school keys and locks

Hackers cause hotel to ditch keycards for old-school keys and locks
Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt in Austria
PHOTO: Internet

Earlier this month, staff at Austria's four-star Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt tried to sign into the resort's computer systems, but couldn't.

They had been infected by a kind of software called ransomware.

When hackers deploy the tech, it encrypts a device, rendering it useless.

Once a ransom is paid, the hackers then deliver an electronic "decryption key" which can be used to restore the device to normal.

Unless the hotel paid a ransom in Bitcoin totaling close to $1,800 dollars, it wouldn't be able to access its reservation system, cash desk system or issue electronic keycards.

The hack only prevented the hotel from issuing new keys.

It didn't stop hotel guests who already had keycards from accessing their rooms, nor did it cause any guests to be locked inside, as some reports initially said.

International fire code regulations mandate that electronic locks must open from the inside, so it's not possible for guests to have been trapped inside their rooms.

The attack came at the worst time: the height of ski season.

The hotel was fully booked with hundreds of vacationers, some paying more than $500 a night.

The resort couldn't go for days without the ability to issue new keycards. So hotel owner Cristoph Brandstaetter gave in and paid the hackers.

Brandstaetter told Bleeping Computer that after they paid the ransom, someone tried to compromise the system once more, but they were able to take their computers offline.

So far Austrian police have not been able to identify the hackers.

This isn't the first time the hotel has been targeted.

In the last year, Romantik Seehotel has been the victim of at least three different cyberattacks, hotel staff say.

The resort is far from alone.

Read the full article here.


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