By Todd Seiders, CLSD
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 serial number 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 (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 to access locked guestrooms.
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 the defect in their hotel locks, and have offered a software fix for the problem. Onity is charging hotels to supply the fix.
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.
I’ll keep you posted on this topic…..
Todd Seiders, CLSD
Director of Risk Management
Phone: (800) 466-8951 ext 207
Direct: (562) 623-0976
Fax: (800) 494-6829