Security researchers at F-Secure have discovered a flaw that could allow millions of hotel rooms around the world to be accessed by unauthorised parties, without leaving a trace.
A design flaw in the widely-used Vision by VingCard electronic lock software could have been exploited by intelligence agencies, thieves, and other criminals to gain access to rooms – and potentially any computers left inside.
How’s that possible?
It’s unusual today to check into a hotel room and to be given an old-fashioned physical key. It’s much more likely today that you will be given an electronic key card to gain access to a room via the RFID card reader used by its lock.
So the trick is to somehow clone the key card?
Cloning a key card requires physical access to the card for a period of time, and that’s a challenge that someone keen to enter a room might not be able to pull off easily. Similarly, generating a new key card at the front desk might arouse suspicions and may invalidate the key card carried by the legitimate occupant of the hotel room.
What researchers Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen managed to do was find a vulnerability that allowed them to generate a master key that can open any room in a hotel, without leaving a trace.
Was the flaw easy to find? Is it possible that other criminals or intelligence agencies have also exploited it?
The researchers worked on-and-off on the challenge for a long time incorporating “several thousand hours of work,” after first becoming curious when a friend of Tuominen had his laptop stolen from his hotel room in 2003 while attending a security conference in Berlin.
Staff at the Alexanderplatz Radisson reportedly dismissed the issue at the time as there was no sign of (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from The State of Security authored by Graham Cluley. Read the original post at: https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/featured/researchers-hotel-key-cards-can-be-hacked-what-you-need-to-know/