Tech

Hotel Pays Ransom After Guests Are Locked In Rooms By Hackers

By Andy Franco , Jan 30, 2017 07:06 PM EST

A 4-star hi-tech resort which has stood for 111 years found in the Alpine Turracher Hoehe Pass in Austria was the target of hackers who locked the hotel out of its computers.

Earlier this January, the hotel systems of Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt went offline. This temporarily interfered with electronic room keys and guest check-ins. Apparently, the hotel which costs $300 per night had been attacked before, however, it was the first time hackers had full control over the system.

The attack happened when the hotel was fully booked with 180 guests during the opening weekend of the winter season. According to The Local, Managing director Christoph Brandstaetter said, "...we had no other choice. Neither police nor insurance helps you in this case."

However, reports of guests being locked out are said to be untrue. The story from Europe digital news site, The Local, claimed that the cyber attack resulted in guests being locked in their bedrooms. "Sorry to tell you this is FAKE and wrong information," says the company spokesperson, Christina Brandstatter. "We have been hacked but no guests were locked in or out." Brandstätter declined to comment further on the reports.

According to Brandstaetter, the real problem was that the hotel was unable to give out new key cards to guests who arrived during the 24 hour period which the hotel's reservation system was still down. Guests who had keys before that were still able to go in and out of their rooms.

The ransomware hackers demanded 2 Bitcoin or $1,600, in order for them to quickly restore the hotel's system. Seehotel Jägerwirt agreed to the demand. As to why they decided to pay the ransom that was demanded, Brandstätter says it was cheaper and faster. However, he further adds, "Every euro that is paid to blackmailers hurts us. We know that other colleagues have been attacked, who have done similarly."

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