PRN: Solution for Security Risk in 4 Million Hotel Rooms
Solution for Security Risk in 4 Million Hotel Rooms
VIENNA, Austria, August 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Austrian security specialist SITECH promises quick help and sets up hotline
A few days ago the presentation by a 24-year-old software developer from the US made feathers fly. At the Black Hat security conference he demonstrated how it is possible to break into more than 4 million hotel rooms using the simplest means. Unsettled hotel operators and guests can now breathe a sigh of relief: The Viennese company SITECH promises a quick and cost-effective solution to the problem and has set up its own hotline.
One of the world's most widespread magnetic card locks was recently hacked by a 24-year-old software programmer. This product is used in the rooms of leading hotel chains as well as on luxury cruise ships and at universities. Unauthorised access, according to Heise, only takes 200 milliseconds. The hardware can be purchased for less than 50 US dollars and the instructions - including the source code - are freely available on the Internet.
Outdated technology is at fault
Michael Makivic, managing director of SITECH, which specialises in security solutions and access systems, confirms the simple workaround for the magnetic lock, making the outdated electronics responsible: "I myself opened one of the magnetic locks in just a few seconds based on the instructions - it's child's play. And it confirms our corporate philosophy of always resisting technical backdoors. A superficial simplification for the customer was integrated at the cost of security. And that was done in a system that to my knowledge has remained essentially unchanged for 20 years."
How the error can be resolved
Makivic is convinced that a software update will not be able to solve the problem. "Currently the security risk can only be resolved in this system through an elaborate modification to the lock or by totally replacing all the doors. SITECH, however, has developed an access system based on the latest RFID technology that can simply be exchanged for the lock at risk of burglary - i.e. without structural changes, let alone replacing the doors."
Questions of liability uncertain: more information on the SITECH hotline
The uncertainty among hotel operators as well as among guests is understandably great. Who is actually liable when personal objects suddenly disappear out of hotel rooms? This question will likely soon keep the courts busy. Makivic says, "We too have received many concerned calls. But since SITECH has always used a different technology without software-based fallback scenarios, our customers and their guests can continue sleeping peacefully. As a quick aid for all companies that have the magnetic lock described, SITECH has set up its own bilingual hotline (German/English) under the phone number +43 (1) 525 09 4444, which is available to all those affected."
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