Unlock the Shock: Hotel Room Doors Worldwide Vulnerable to Simple RFID Hack!

Need a master key to the world’s hotel rooms? Hackers show that with a dash of tech savvy and a cheap RFID device, you’re in—no cape required. #HotelHijinks 🏨🔓😎

Hot Take:

Remember when hotel room keys were actual keys, and the worst that could happen was dropping it on the way to the ice machine? Ah, the good ol’ days before hackers could turn your all-inclusive resort stay into an all-access tech demo. While the Swiss lock company Dormakaba plays digital whack-a-mole with its patch updates, we can all take comfort in knowing that the classic ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign remains unhackable. For now.

Key Points:

  • Hacking duo Ian Carroll and Lennert Wouters found a security flaw in Dormakaba’s RFID hotel door locks at a hacker conference in 2022.
  • These locks are used in over three million hotel rooms worldwide and can be hacked with a cheap RFID device or an NFC-capable Android phone.
  • Despite being notified in November 2022, Dormakaba has only updated 36 percent of its locks and the full fix could take “months or even years.”
  • Some properties require a complete hardware overhaul due to non-internet-connected locks, delaying the security update process.
  • The Unsaflok team is withholding full disclosure to prevent widespread exploitation before a fix is in place.

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The Art of the Stealthy Stay

Hotel stays are supposed to be about fluffy towels and tiny shampoos, not identity theft and digital break-ins. But thanks to our intrepid hacking heroes, Carroll and Wouters, we've learned that swiping more than just the complimentary toiletries has become a whole lot easier. These two tech wizards waved their magic RFID wands and uncovered a vulnerability that could turn any Joe Schmo into a master burglar. All you need is a gadget that probably costs less than the minibar's bottle of water.

The Snail-Paced Security Sprint

In a race against time, Dormakaba's efforts to secure their locks seem to be moving at a pace only a three-toed sloth could envy. With a whopping 64 percent of their doors still whispering sweet nothings to any hacker with the right tools, the fix is coming along with the urgency of a glacier in a heatwave. The Swiss company is juggling immediate mitigation with long-term solutions, but if history repeats itself, hotel guests might need to start considering sleeping with their valuables under their pillows.

The Dilemma of Disclosure

Oh, the ethical pickle! The Unsaflok squad is caught between a rock and a hard place, trying to be good digital Samaritans while not giving the bad guys a how-to guide for Hotel Heists 101. They're playing a dangerous game of info-keepaway, dribbling out enough details to spur Dormakaba into action without laying out a welcome mat for thieves. It's like telling someone their zipper is down but not mentioning the spinach in their teeth - helpful, yet still leaving room for embarrassment.

Lessons in Lockdown

As we look back on the lockpicking legacy of hotels, it's clear that the hospitality industry might need to invest in a better cybersecurity concierge. With Onity's 2012 fiasco serving as a cautionary tale of what happens when you're stingy with your security budget, one can only hope that Dormakaba and its clientele don’t wait until the robbers are knocking at the door. Or, more accurately, casually strolling through it.

The Unhackable Sign

In the end, while the digital realm seems fraught with peril, let's take a moment to appreciate the low-tech security solutions that still stand strong. The 'Do Not Disturb' sign may not stop a determined hacker, but it's a stalwart defender against pesky housekeeping interruptions. And in a world where even our door locks aren't safe, sometimes the best security system is a piece of laminated paper hanging from a doorknob.
Tags: Dormakaba, Hacker ethics, Hotel lock systems, IoT security risks, RFID security, Vulnerability Disclosure, White-Hat Hackers