Hackers lock guests out of rooms in luxury hotel

The hotel manager says it will switch back to lock-and-key doors after repeated cyber attacks

The manager of a luxury hotel in the Austrian Alps has revealed that it will reinstate traditional key locks on guest rooms after being blackmailed by hackers.

The husband-and-wife management team of the Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt claimed that a recent infection with ransom software ended with a complete shutdown of the four-star hotel’s computer system, including the door locks. The couple had to pay roughly €1,500 in Bitcoin in order to restore their network.

The attack meant that new guests checking in were unable to access their rooms, and those who left their rooms were unable to re-enter them. All guests inconvenienced during the cyber attack were treated to champagne while the hotel management scrambled to restore order.

Backdoors and new doors

“The house was totally booked with 180 guests, we had no other choice,” said managing director Christoph Brandstaetter. “Neither police nor insurance help you in this case.

“The restoration of our system after te first attack in summer cost us several thousand Euros. We did not get any money from our insurance so far because none of those to blame could be found.”

The hackers had left a backdoor process in place, allowing them to once again attack the 111-year-old hotel’s computer system during the peak winter season.

The hotel has now decided to change its doors back to the traditional lock-and-key system that first existed when the hotel was built.

“Just like 111 years ago at the time of our great-grandfathers,” said Brandstaetter.

For more travel news on Newstalk.com, please click here.