A visit by an ABC News reporter to a Holiday Inn Express revealed that electronic hotel locks can be opened without a hotel-issued key.
The locks, made by Onity, are sold to thousands of hotels globally, and hackers claim to have discovered that the company left a security port uncovered that allows the locks to be accessed with a homemade device.
The device can be made by anyone, with instructional videos on Youtube teaching others how to build it. A hacker on the ABC News investigation was able to open the hotel door in less than two seconds.
The device was also taken to a nearby Hilton, and the hacker was once again able to gain access to another room within a matter of seconds.
Since the investigation, the Holiday Inn announced a drive to speed up efforts to fix the locks. The hotel industry has been given two options to fix the problem. The first solution involves placing a plug to each door lock to block the access of the device. The second solution is replacing a circuit board inside each door lock.
Security experts say it is important for guests who are concerned about safety to increase their use of room safes, deadbolts and chains.
This is not the first case of hotel security being breached. In 1974, singer Connie Francis was raped and robbed in a hotel room. She later won a lawsuit against the hotel, which led to hotel security reform. A more recent case regarding hotel security involves ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was videotaped nude through the peephole of her hotel door.
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Source: ABC News, "Faulty Hotel Locks Demonstrated by ABC News Report," Oct. 22, 2012.