Hackers take over a hotel’s computer system, lock guests in rooms and hold hotel to ransom

We’ve all seen those movies where hackers need just a laptop and an internet connection to take over the world and disrupt our lives. It’s likely that we’ve also dismissed all those movies as fanciful, but for a hotel in Austria that flight of imagination turned into a frustrating reality.

The Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, a 4-star hotel situated beside a lake on the Alpine Turracher Hoehe Pass in Austria was subjected to a hacking attack that took over the hotel’s entire electronic key management system.

The Local reports that guests were enabled to get into or get out of their rooms as all their keys were rendered invalid. The hotel’s computer system and payment systems were also compromised.

Hotel staff could not do anything to reset the keys.

Surprisingly, the hackers demands were rather humble, asking for around 1,500 EUR (around Rs 1,10,000) in Bitcoin in exchange for giving back computer system access to the staff.

With guests locked in, and out of, hotel rooms, the hotel says that it had no option but to make the payment and clear up the situation as soon as possible.

In a statement, the hotel explained that insurance wasn’t willing to cover the damage and the police couldn’t do much to help. The hotel also claims that this is third time it’s been hacked. The same hackers apparently tried to attack the hotel again soon after receiving payment.

This last attempt was a fail because the hotel had implemented and adopted better security practices and standards.

The hotel, which is 111 years old, also intends to replace all electronic door locks with actual keys, just like the “time of our great-grandfathers,” hotel management told The Local.

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