News for the Hospitality Executive
Crime Alert for Hotels - Please Read
by Todd Seiders, Petra Risk Solutions
October 12, 2012
As many of you may have heard, the computer “hacking” community has made a small device that can open Onity hotel guestroom door locks. It costs approximately $50 in readily available electronic parts, and the device has been concealed in an IPhone case and a Dry Erase marking pen body (yes, the felt tipped dry erase pen used on whiteboards).
The hacking device plugs into the door locks, and opens the door. It shows up on the lock readout as a “portable programmer” use, but no electronic signature for the portable programmer is noted.
**We are now experiencing actual guestroom burglaries and guest thefts by use of these devices in Texas. Multiple rooms have been hit at several hotels. An arrest was made in Houston on some of these burglaries, so I hope to have additional info on that very soon.
**I am also receiving reports from hotels in Florida that a similar “hacker” has been seen carrying a laptop computer and using a key card/ or similar key slot device (possibly connected to the laptop) to open guestroom door locks. There have been several guestroom burglaries and actual witnesses who saw the suspect with his laptop, using a key card/tool inserted into the lock key slot.
Please TRAIN and notify your hotel staff that these burglaries are spreading across the country. Hotel staff should be vigilant while they are on the guest floors and paying attention to guests walking through hallways. Take time to watch guests walking through your hallways to ensure they are going to a room and entering it. Be very suspicious of someone carrying a laptop or small bag wandering the hallways. Greet guests and ask them if they need assistance. If they appear nervous, or cannot tell you what room they are looking for, escort them to the lobby, or escort them to where a security camera is, so you can get a picture of them. If they leave the hotel, follow them and try and write down a vehicle license plate on their vehicle. Your hotel staff has to be more active on your guest floors when they see people walking around.
Onity locks is not accepting liability for stolen guest property. Onity has offered some physical devices that protect their locks, which many hotels have already instituted. Onity also has a software/computer motherboard “fix” that is available for an additional cost.
I would recommend that hotels inform guests to use their in-room safes (if available) or place their valuables in the hotels safety deposit boxes or safe. Remind your guests not to leave any valuables inside their hotel rooms. Guests should also use their deadbolt locks and security latches every time they are inside their hotel room.
I’m sorry to say that this burglary issue will only get bigger as the hackers share their tales and their build your own device details in the future.
Todd Seiders, CLSD
Director of Risk Management
Petra Risk Solutions
Phone: (800) 466-8951 ext 207
Direct: (562) 623-0976