The electronic key system at a 4-star Austrian ski hotel was remotely accessed by hackers, locking out dozens of guests from their rooms and held ransom for a BitCoin payment as reported by inverse.com.
On January 22nd the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt hotel received an email from the hackers demanding a ransom of two Bitcoins (about $1,800). The email warned hotel staff that the ransom would double if the hotel did not comply by the end of the day. The hotel manager Christoph Brandstaetter weighed his options and decided to make the payment:
“We were at maximum capacity with 180 guests and decided that it was better to give in.The hackers were very pushy.”
The hackers gained access to the 111 year old hotel’s electronic systems with a type of software known as ransomware. The ransomware is typically delivered via email with a link or attachment that encrypts files on the victim computer and holds it hostage until a payment is made. According to the police, many of the hackers who carry out these types of attacks operate in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Brandstaetter decided to go public with the hack to warn other potential victims and raise awareness for what has become a epidemic in the area (three other hotels in the region have been extorted this season).
To safe proof the hotel from future attacks reservations are now written with pen and paper and old fashion door locks and that use actual keys are being installed. Brandstaetter believes, “The securest way not to get hacked is to be offline and to use keys.”
*I would love to have a tall glass of Stiegl at the hotel bar but not use their WiFi:
[images from seehotel-jaegerwirt.at]