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Is this the downside to high-tech hotels?

by Laura on March 21, 2016

eccleston square tablet

Hotels all over London, from budget to luxury brands, have been embracing technology in recent years. But a recent investigation by one guest has raised eyebrows at security concerns.

When more and more aspects of a hotel stay can be controlled by technology, there’s the potential for hotels to be left vulnerable. Hackers can get into their systems if the hotels aren’t careful, and take over control of various functions. While a stranger having control over the lights in a room isn’t going to cause a major disaster, it’s certainly not a good look for any hotel.

A security researcher, Matthew Garrett, recently showed how easy it was to hack a hotel’s technology.

Network_hacking

He hacked into an unnamed hotel which uses Android tablets to control room functions. By doing this, he could turn lights on and off remotely, control the curtains, and even the TV. He started doing it in his own hotel room, but soon noticed that the IP address of the tablet contained his room number.

Garrett found that it was simple for him to get into the controls for other rooms too. Of course, he was sensible enough not to mess with anything. However, someone who was prepared to play pranks could make some guests very unhappy. Nobody wants to have their lights turn on in the middle of the night or watch as curtains open every time they try to close them.

This may be a worrying thing to consider, for hoteliers if not for guests.

It’s essential that they consider security when making their establishments high-tech. Many might consider how safe their WiFi is, but they can forget to pay attention to other wireless tech. However, guests also need to be vigilant about using hotel tech. You can read our guide to staying safe on hotel WiFi to minimise your risk of being a victim of hacking.

If hotels want to keep up with technology, they need to take security into account. It won’t just protect their guests; it will also protect their business.

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Photo credits: Eccleston Square Hotel, psyomjesus.

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