Hotel was hit with ransomware making it impossible to create key cards

Doesn’t it seems everytime there’s new technology, someone figures out a way to hack it, exploit, or infect it?  16 million homes have had a serious virus problem in the past two years.  The conflicker virus alone has infected nearly 9 million computers. Even cars are being hacked.

And there’s this ugly ransomware thing going on, where hackers lock up your systems unless you pay them a ransom.  Just recently, 70% of Washington DC’s 187 police cameras were hit just days before the inauguration.  Hollywood’s Presbyterian Medical Center was kidnapped as attackers asked for $17,000.  The St. Louis library system had 700 of its computers locked up.

Here’s how creative the hackers have become.  When a 111-year old hotel in Austria installed fancy new high-tech door locking systems, it probably didn’t worry about having its key card system attacked.  But that’s exactly what happened.  The 4-star hotel’s system was locked up and nobody could make new keys.  All the data about reservations was also locked.

With a full house and a crisis on its hands, the Seehotel Jägerwirt hotel paid the ransom to get access to its data and keep guests happy.

“The house was totally booked out with 180 guests, we had no other chance. Neither police nor insurance help you in this case.  It was cheaper and faster to settle the ransom claim ” – Christoph Brandstätter told the Austrian news media.

The hotel has been hit with attacks multiple times.  Last time, the spent thousands of euros fixing the damage that had been done.  This time, they just paid the ransom.

The hotel says they’ve had enough.  They’d already spent more than $10,000 in security measures for the computer system, but they say next time they remodel, they’re going back to old room locks with real keys.

And here’s something else to think about:  Forbes reports that “fake” ransomware attached are going on as well.  Kind of like the guy with the finger in his jacket pocket telling you he has a gun, just the threat of ransomware has some businesses handing over their wallets.  The report cites 200 businesses that were “bluffed” by a cybercriminal with two-thirds paying out.