Hotel locks at risk of break-ins

Hotel lock being swiped

Hotel operators with Vingard’s Vision locks may be vulnerable to security breaches. Finish security researchers, Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen, have developed a ‘master key’ that can inconspicuously open the door of any room locked with an old Vingard Vision system. Together they have developed a process of determining a hotel’s master key code using an expired hotel key card and an RFID card reading and writing tool. The process takes just under a minute and then hackers can open any door as they please.

The hack works only on previous generation Vingard Vision cards, not the latest model. However, the security researchers say that 140,000 hotels in more than 160 countries still have susceptible locks equipped. Assa Abloy, Vingard’s parent company, has admitted that millions of locks are vulnerable to the hack. In February this year, Asso Abloy released a free software update for the older system on its website. However, the locks do not have internet access, so the update cannot be installed without a technician, and each lock has to be installed individually.

The security researchers insist the risk is low, as the technology to break into the system took them 15-years to develop, so the odds of everyday burglars possessing the technology is minimal. Despite that, they still urge hotel operators to install the updates to fix the old locks and to keep all security technology as up-to-date as possible.