Modern tech leads to hotel hack in Austria
Friday, February 17, 2017
Technology is often a synonym for progress. Yet, when it leads to crime, we may find it easy to revert to simpler, pre-tech methods.
Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, a 111-year-old hotel in Austria, has had a harrowing time thanks to cybercrime. Hackers targeted the hotel and breached its keycard system, making it impossible for some hotel employees and guests to use the rooms until a ransom amount of more than $1,600 was paid.
Once the ransom was paid, however, the hackers were quick to see further opportunity. Investigators later discovered that the savvy hackers had a left a backdoor into the hotel's systems for future exploitation. They did so two more times.
The hotel had to bring in cyber-defense professionals to replace the older system with new, fully-patched ones. The experts hired to resolve the issue "decoupled" the systems to prevent future attacks, a strategy applied by many organizations fighting cyber-attacks on critical systems.
But as the managing director of the hotel, Christoph Brandstaetter, stated to a local Austrian website, the best defense might be to go back to an old-school system. The next time it renovates, the hotel plans to put keyed locks back on every guest room door.
The convenience of the smart key card systems is coupled with familiarity. Most of us don’t even remember the pre-key card days. But hotels may have to revert back for now for their customers’ safety.
Along with decoupling, another method applied by security firms is micro-segmentation, where each individual system on the network is expected to be a potential threat. Restricted access and the limited resources available to each system will aid in shutting them down when a breach is detected.
This will prevent hackers from gaining complete access and disrupting service like before, minimizing the damage.
The hack in Austria was not the first instance of hotels being subjected to cybercrimes, though.
British-owned InterContinental Hotels Group was recently struck by malware that may have led to potential breaches of guests’ credit and debit card data, which were then sold to illegitimate marketplaces. Intercontinental is now working with security companies to improve its existing security measures and prevent future hacks.
Other British hoteliers have faced similar hacks of their booking and key card systems.
Two high-end hotels in Cornwall, England, were hacked, with the perpetrators promising to return access once their ransom demands were met. In this case, however, their ransom demands were ignored, but the hotels did have to spend a fortune to overhaul their IT systems and make them more secure.
- The stress of 911 call-takers and emergency dispatchers
- 7 trigger control errors and how to fix them
- Children of the badge: The impact of stress on law enforcement children
- Married to the badge: Stress in the law enforcement marriage
- Back to the future with Ford bioplastics
- 13 ways to screw up your RV
- Can solar energy compete with fossil fuels?
- Why stand and deliver simply doesn’t work
- AR-15 ‘overpenetration’ only exists if you do this wrong
- More big brands join the war on plastic
- Why I started reading storybooks to my older students
- Is there a market solution to the feral hog problem?
- A long road ahead for Heathrow expansion, despite optimism
See your work in future editions
Your content, Your Expertise,
Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice & We've got the platform you needFind Out How