Hotel Ditches Key Cards After Ransomware Attack
Hackers have forced a hotel to ditch its electronic room key system and return to physical keys. But reports that guests were locked in and out of their room turned out to be overblown.
The Seehotel Jaegewirt in Austria has been targeted by at least four different attacks on its computer system. The most recent involved the system data being encrypted and the hackers demanding a payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin equivalent to around $1,600.
The hotel mentioned the attack in a press release designed to raise awareness and warn other hotels of the need to maintain security. A news agency picked up the story and ran it, leading to a report on an Austrian news site. That in turn got picked up by English language sites and it quickly spread worldwide.
Reports Include False Claims
It turns out that somewhere between the news agency rewriting the press release and the English language sites translating the story, the facts got distorted. International reports claimed the attack had disabled the electronic key recognition system such that guests were locked out of their rooms. Some reports even suggested guests might have been locked inside their room.
The hotel says this is not true and doesn't reflect the facts it stated in its press release. It says the actual effect of the system data being compromised was that it was unable to program electronic key cards for new guests checking in. (Source: theverge.com)
Hotel Pays Ransom
That did prove disruptive enough that the hotel management decided the only option was to pay the ransom rather than turn guests away. It's now decided that the next time it refurbishes rooms, it's going to ditch the electronic locks for old-style physical keys. (Source: gizmodo.com)
What's Your Opinion?
Is the hotel right to ditch electronic locks for physical keys? Should it concentrate on improving cyber security instead? Are you surprised that the attackers asked for a relatively low amount?
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