Uninvited Guests: Austrian Hotel Infected with Ransomware

Media Division | January 31, 2017

The hotel industry has progressively moved into implementing cyber technology into many of their systems.  For instance, some hotels feature the ability for guests to use their phones to unlock their rooms, or order room service.  While these are very convenient features, there has been a large problem arising with them, which is the fact that malicious cyber attackers can breach them for illicit gains.  But even systems that have been employed for quite some time can be targets as well.  Such is the case with a recent attack on a luxury Austrian hotel, in which ransomware locked them out of their computer system.

The Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt, which is a resort in the Austrian alps, found itself locked out of their reservation system, and unable to issue any new key cards to guests for 24 hours.  The hotel ended up having to pay $1600 in bitcoin to the hijackers to finally be able to unlock their systems.  Unfortunately, the police were unable to offer any assistance in the attack, though they did tell the hotel manager that there had been other companies hacked recently as well.

Ransomware Growing as a Problem

This weekend’s attack has left the hotel fed up, as they have been hit by cyber attacks four times now.  In fact hotel manager, Cristoph Brandstaetter, told a local news network that they plan on going back to the technologyless age.  An article from Kaernten ORF states, “At the next room reconstruction, we plan to restore old room locks with real keys, as in the times of the great-grandfathers, according to the Hotelchef, who already invested 10,000 euros in security measures for the computer system. His employees are already sensitized to emails, which could bring viruses with them.”

Ransomware tends to be one of cyber attackers most commonly employed tools. It can be quite simply injected into systems following one undereducated employee clicking on the wrong link in an email. There have been several other ransomware attacks on various organizations over the past few months as well, including the DC police camera network, LA Valley Community College, and San Francisco MTA.  The prominence of ransomware has skyrocketed over the past couple years.  In the first 3 months of 2016, ransomware had collected $209 million through extortion of various organizations, which was more than eight times the number of 2015.

Cyber attacks are more prominent than ever, and it is important to have proper cyber security in place to prevent them.  Massive Alliance offers a multitude of services to help organizations prevent cyber attacks.


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