Hotel Pays Off Hackers While Guests Locked Out Of Rooms

Hackers infiltrated the computer systems of a hotel several times, and even locked guests out of — and inside of — their rooms because the property uses an electronic entry system.

One of Europe’s top hotels has admitted they had to pay thousands in Bitcoin ransom to cybercriminals who managed to hack their electronic key system, locking hundreds of guests in or out of their rooms until the money was paid.

Furious hotel managers at the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, a luxurious 4-star hotel with a beautiful lakeside setting on the Alpine Turracher Hoehe Pass in Austria, said they decided to go public with what happened to warn others of the dangers of cybercrime.

My guess here is that guests were locked out, they couldn’t get into rooms, but guests who were inside could just open their doors. I suppose it’s fair to say they were stuck inside because if they left they wouldn’t be able to return.

The third attack on this hotel happened opening weekend of the winter season for the Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt in Austria. The hotel was forced to pay a ransom of 1,500 EUR in bitcoin to unlock rooms and the rest of their computer systems.


Credit: Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt

The hotel has installed all new computers and a firewall to prevent future incursions. They also disconnected some systems from others. and they’re planning to replace smart locks with keys during their next renovation.

These hackers here were smart. After the first incursion they left a backdoor to facilitate future ransomeware installations. They’ve requested small payments that are easier for the hotel to make than not to make. They’ve insisted on payment in bitcoin to make their identities harder to track.

After the Internet of Things denial of service attack that took down Netflix and Facebook in the fall, we should be more aware than ever of the security vulnerabilities in connected devices and the likelihood that these attacks will grow. It underscores the importance of physical override capabilities as well.

(HT: Ray)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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