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Written By: Jeff Eckley, Security Account Manager

Once, twice, three times……no not the song, unfortunately. Three is the number of times a hotel in Turrach, Austria was hit by hackers. The cyber criminals left a backdoor on the hotel network exposed, allowing them to hold the hotel hostage with ransomware at any time. The hackers had total control of the reservation systems, all hotel computers, the cash desk systems and key cards, leaving the 180 guests stuck and inconvenienced, to say the least.

Guests were locked out of their rooms, with management unable to issue new key cards until they gave in to the hacker’s bitcoin demands. Management could not take new reservations nor could they conduct any business, leaving them completely at the mercy of the hackers.

I am sure this may sound a little like a harmless prank- a luxurious four-star hotel had guests locked in their rooms. But the fact is, this was very dangerous situation. What if there was a fire or natural disaster? How could the hotel help their guests? Plus, the damage to the hotel’s reputation and loss of revenue still remains to be seen.

What makes this even worse is that this all could have been avoided! The signs were there, that something was not right. Yet the hotel ignored the signs and not once, not twice, but three times the hackers had total control of the hotel systems.

Let this serve as yet another lesson from the headlines to not ignore the red flags when it comes to protecting your environment. Ensure that your network is secure and save yourself the embarrassment of ransomware and thousands of dollars in bitcoin.