Hotel pays Bitcoin ransom after guests are locked out of rooms

Romantik Seehotel JäegerwirtJäegerwirt

The Romantik Seehotel Jäegerwirt, Jäegerwirt, a luxury hotel in Austria, has gone public with the news that it was recently the victim of an attack during which hackers took control of the electronic key card system that prevented guests from being able to enter or leave their rooms.

In addition to the electronic key system, those responsilble also had complete control over the general computer system - meaning that the reservation and cash desk systems were also out of commission. The hotel's management explained that this is the third time the hotel has been hit with such an attack, but this is the first time they had managed to take down the key card system.

In order to keep things running, the hotel yielded to the demands and paid the ransom of €1,500 (£1,275/$1,600) in Bitcoin. After making payment, the system was completely restored allowing the hotel staff to gain access to the system and guests to enter and exit their rooms. While the payment allowed business to run like usual, those causing the problem left a back door to the system and attempted a fourth attack later, which was thwarted because security standards had been improved and critical networks had been separated.

The hotel has gone public to warn others about the dangers of cyber crime, Managing Director Christoph Brandstaetter said:

"The house was totally booked with 180 guests, we had no other choice. Neither police nor insurance help you in this case."

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

"Every euro that is paid to blackmailers hurts us. We know that other colleagues have been attacked, who have done similarly."

After the hack, the hotel plans on removing the electronic door locks from guest rooms entirely and is going back to a traditional lock and key system like when the hotel first opened nearly 111 years ago.

Source: The Local | Image: Seehotel Jägerwirt

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