Hotel Guest Locked and Ransomed by Cybercriminals

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Technology has made our life easier but it can also make your life miserable. One of the hotel has recently learnt this. In a Europe, hotel management has admitted that their guests were held in or out of the room by cybercriminals. In what is called a sophisticated electronic key system hack, cyber criminals hacked into the system and asked thousands of dollars in bitcoin as a ransom.

hotel ransomware

Edit: Guest were not allowed to re-enter the room. They were not locked into the room

Just a few days back a news spread about ransomware being spread via Android app in Google play store by the cyber criminals. With this new incidents surfaced about hotel key card system hacking, it seems that the problem is only going to get worse in the future. Most of the 4-star and 5-star hotels now use modern IT system that uses key cards as a door key.

Hotel management decided to go public and mention the issues they faced to warn all other hoteliers out there. With modern technology there increases a cyber crime. The hotel management even said that they were hit three times by such cyber criminals. To make the situation worse, they even managed to shut down entire systems. Guest could not enter or exit from their room. Re programming the system did not help either. The attack shut down entire help desk and all computers in the hotel.

Cyber criminals asked 1,500 EUR (1,272 GBP) in Bitcoin to restore the system. The only option left with them was to pay them the ransom amount. The worst thing is that neither police nor insurance company could help them. Software engineer was also not able to restore the locked system.

However, the good thing is that after paying the ransom hackers restored everything. It also allowed them to operate normally. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that this would not happen again. With increasing ransomware threat it becomes necessary to take preventive steps to stop such hack. Windows system are more vulnerable at this moment.

The recent ransomware called “Cerber” is very popular among the cyber criminals. It encrypts all files which can only be decrypted using their decryption software or more known as “decryptor”. As of writing this, no anti virus company has found the cure. The only option with users is to pay the ransom via bitcoin or format the entire system. In some cases, users pay them the amount due to sensitive data loss. It is said that over 50% users end up paying ransom to these cyber criminals. The same goes with the latest Netflix ransomware as well!

Brandstaetter said (hotel manager) that the best option is to use good old-fashioned lock keys with hardware. Locks with real keys are best solution and there is no way to hack into it. As a preventive measures all systems are replaced and there is a less chance of fourth hack attempt. The hotel has spent over 10,000 Euros on digital security to stop hackers from attacking again. In previous cases also they paid ransom in thousands Euros.

Smart home and smart locks are widespread now. What happens if smart home security is altered and hackers manage to lock you out of your home? Even a thought about it runs a shiver down the spine. Are we depending too much on smart system? Is it a right time to go back to the old security system where we are less reliant on software?

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