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Going to a real-estate conference anytime soon? Don’t let ransomware kill your vibe

(TECHNOLOGY) Ransomware is on the rise and it could cost you big time during your next hotel stay.

ransomware hotel key card door

Up the creek without a paddle

Imagine you’re at some swanky hotel on a business trip. You’ve locked your valuables in the safe and you’ve decided to venture down to the bar to unwind after a long day of travel. When you return to your room, you can’t get in – and neither can anyone else in the entire hotel.


As ransomware is becoming more and more of an issue it would behoove you to know just exactly what is at stake.

What are we even talking about?

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts data and locks up phones and computers, rendering them useless unless the hackers’ demands are met.

Generally, the insidious individual(s) will request a ransom payment in the form of Bitcoins.

The difficult to trace cryptocurrency is one of the primary methods of payment used on the darknet- and in this case, will likely be used to commit more hackings, or other nefarious deeds.

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Real life hotel takeover

The New York Times reported a real life ransomware incident that occurred at a hotel in Austria last month.

Hackers shut down the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt’s entire key card system, demanding that the hotel pay two Bitcoins, or roughly $1,800, by the end of the day.

Of course, the hotel had to pay the ransom.

Having worked in the hotel industry and been a hotel guest, I can personally vouch for how upset guests can get when they are unable to enter their room.

And a hotel at max capacity? It would be pandemonium.

Luckily, the ransom seemed to be the extent of the trouble for the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt’s hacking issue.

However, to avoid such an event in the future, the Jaegerwirt hotel is reportedly changing from their key card system to an old-fashioned metal lock and key (not that this does not have its drawbacks as well).

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If push comes to shove

If you do find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance we would suggest you go to talk to the hotel staff.

Make sure it’s a hotel wide occurrence and not just that you accidentally put your card key too close to your phone.

If it is a hotel-wide hack and the hotel won’t play ball, it very well could dissolve into a ransom room-for-room.

While the Jaegerwirt hotel paid the ransom, experts recommend the opposite.

Don’t give the hackers any money.

Forward thinking

So maybe next time you head off on a business trip you keep in mind things you wouldn’t want to be locked away with no access to (see: medicines, identifications, proprietary information, etc).

It may be cumbersome to have to carry them around, but if you were locked out of your room with absolutely no way in, what could you really live without?

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Written By

Andrew Clausen is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and when he's not deep diving into technology and business news for you, he is a poet, enjoys rock climbing, monster movies, and spending time with his notoriously naughty cat.


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