When guests arrive at a hotel, they want to head to their room, close the door and have confidence that their privacy and security are in safe hands.
Unfortunately, a study by F-Secure has revealed that a huge number of electronic hotel door locks around the world could be compromised via a fairly straightforward hack.
This is definitely a wakeup call (if you’ll excuse the pun) for hotels to update their door locks, or to upgrade entire locking systems if they’re over the hill by modern standards. Here are some reasons why you should rethink your door locking system and invest in the latest technology for your hotel's locks.
The security loophole pinpointed by researchers allows malicious third parties to program a master key which can then unlock any room in a hotel.
Because this is a software-related issue, the researchers that identified the vulnerabilities were able to alert the manufacturer immediately and a patch has already been issued to address it. An impressive, swift reaction, then, but does that mean hotels using such systems are out of the woods?
Slow responses to updates
The problem with centrally-issued updates for hotel door lock security systems is that the properties need to implement them (either personally or with the help of the manufacturer).
Security specialists say that even though the software patch has been issued in this instance, many hotels are yet to install it. This means that millions of rooms around the world are still vulnerable to hacking - at least in theory, if not in practice.
The obvious conclusion to draw from this is that it’s vital to apply the latest software patches for door locking systems as soon as they are made available to your hotel.
This is just as true of key card-based hotel door lock systems as it is of desktop computers, server hardware, smartphones, and tablets.
In the wake of the GDPR, independent hotels can’t afford to take any chances and guests will appreciate efforts made to ensure their personal belongings and private details are kept safe.
An important lesson: tech isn't infallible
The silver lining to this dark cloud of hotel security doom and gloom is that, so far, it doesn’t seem as though any major breaches have been carried out using the master key creation technique.
As is often the case in the wider world of hotel IT security, white-hat experts have mercifully uncovered the vulnerability before their criminal counterparts, thus preventing any serious damage.
Another important lesson to learn from this revelation is that even fairly modern hotel door locking systems are fallible, so it pays to invest in the latest solutions if you want to restore guest confidence and avoid suffering a reputation-damaging breach.
Of course, this isn’t just about security, but also the image that’s given off by a particular type of door lock. Old fashioned mechanical locks may have the nostalgia factor, but they can be too easy to crack and will cause headaches if the keys go missing.
Electronic locks with reprogrammable key cards or smartphone integration are more convenient for guests and staff alike, but need to have their software updated regularly - for reasons that should now be clear!
Now is as good a time as any for independent hotels to take the plunge with the latest door locking systems.
It’s also essential to stay abreast of developments in this area so that when security vulnerabilities are spotted, you’re not left exposed to criminal exploitation. Make sure you sign up for updates from the manufacturer and choose a supplier which takes a proactive approach to customer support.
Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part - it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.
Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.