Hackers lock guests out of hotel: IoT and ransomware combine

The worlds of ransomware and the Internet of Things (IoT) came to a head recently when an Austrian hotel received an unusual demand: Pay up, or your guests will be locked out of their rooms. 

The guests’ electronic room keys weren’t working, and the staff were locked out of their terminals. Hackers demanded $1,800 in Bitcoin in order to unlock the doors, and that amount was set to double if the ransom wasn’t paid by the end of the day. Faced with the idea of guests being kept away from their luggage and valuables, the hotel complied.

Paying is a popular option

Almost half of SMBs will pay a ransom, so it’s hard to blame this small business for going along with the demand. Experts will of course advise otherwise, as there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get your information back.

What makes this attack interesting, however, is that it wasn’t data or information that was stolen. Instead, hackers targeted business operations.

And therefore the standard advice of “Make sure you have backups for everything” doesn’t apply.

In a connected world, attacks like these could become more common. Rather than risk stealing data companies can’t live without and don’t have backups for, hackers could increasingly target infrastructure and business operations. When these services are connected to the Internet and not properly secured, all kinds of havoc can be wreaked.

Make sure any systems you have that connect to the Internet are properly secured. It’s not enough to have tiers of protected and unprotected services anymore. Anything can become a target for hackers looking to make a quick buck.