POSTED: Friday, November 30, 2012 - 5:44pm
UPDATED: Friday, November 30, 2012 - 5:46pm
Most hotels these days, have gotten rid of old fashioned key locks.
Now you get a plastic card to slide into an electronic lock.
But now, hackers say, they aren’t secure at all.
In fact, it is so easy now, you would be well advised to leave absolutely nothing valuable in your room.
The Hyatt House hotel near the Galleria in Houston is an extended stay executive hotel.
That means a lot of business travelers with high dollar computers and such.
Which is exactly what a thief named Mathew Allen Cook thought when he broke into the rooms of two people and stole their laptops.
But how did he get into the fancy electronic door lock?
A 24-year-old hacker and programmer named Cody Brocious has discovered those locks are vulnerable, and easy pickins.
And the hacking device can be hidden in the body of a felt tip pen.
And instructions for making the device are now on the internet.
Total cost, $50 bucks.
The company who makes the locks is Onity Incorporated, and their locks are used in 4 million rooms in 20,000 hotels around the world.
They have been working on a fix and you’ll find their official statement below.
In the old days, it took finesse or brute force.
Now, it takes a hacker.
So the next time you check in, and make the long walk to your room, think about security.
You can swing the little lock arm in place, but that is easily foiled.
And now, the electronic lock can be hacked.
Not a reassuring thought for travelers.
The fix proposed by Onity involves reprogramming the lock circuit board.
But they won’t pay for it, and there’s no assurance the hotels will either.
STATEMENT FROM ONITY:
Onity places the highest priority on the safety and security provided by its products. Immediately following the hacker's public presentation of illegal methods of breaking into hotel rooms, Onity engineers quickly developed both mechanical and technical solutions to address the issue.
These solutions have been tested and validated by two independent security firms, and are available to customers worldwide. All requests for these solutions have already been fulfilled, or are in the process of being fulfilled.
We are disappointed that hackers are targeting electronic hotel locks and publishing methods to illegally break into hotel rooms under the guise of protecting public safety. We always look for ways we can augment our customers' security strategies and will continue to do so.
To learn more about these solutions, customers can call Onity's dedicated customer assistance line, which is staffed with specialists who can immediately help select and implement the best possible solution for that customer's specific property.