The Ransomware Attack That Locked Hotel Guests Out of Their Rooms

This is a good demonstration of why electronic systems need physical backups.

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Media Outlet: Slate

Josephine Wolff wrote for Slate about the ransomware attack that locked guests out of their hotel rooms:

Of the various things you may be worrying about these days, getting locked out of your lovely hotel room in scenic Austria is probably not very high on the list. But last week, guests at the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt in the Austrian village of Turracherhohe found themselves unable to open their hotel room doors. In the end, the hotel ended up having to pay about $1,800 (two bitcoins) to hackers who had penetrated its systems and managed to remotely lock its doors.
As tales of ransomware go, it’s a story that’s both silly and serious. A ski resort being held for ransom due to its inability to create working room keys is nowhere near as scary or dangerous as the hospital in Hollywood where ransomware shut down the computer systems last year, until administrators finally agreed to pay a 40-bitcoin ransom (or roughly $17,000 at the time) a few days after it was first infected.


Josephine Wolff was a Class of 2016 & 2017 Cybersecurity Initiative Fellow at New America, where she will write a book about cybersecurity incidents from the last decade, tracing their economic and legal aftermath and their impact on the current state of technical, social, and political lines of defense.