As the impending Internet of Things takes root all over the world, digital security becomes more and more of an issue. Hotels are quick to offer new luxurious amenities to give guests more value for their money, but do these improvements leave hotels and their patrons more vulnerable to the whims of computer hackers? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
A new article published by Wired shines a light on just how dire this situation could be. Without getting too deep in the technical details here, the story outlines how a Spanish hacker stayed at the St. Regis in Shenzhen, China’s capital of high tech. While there, he realized that the “digital butlers” that each guest had access to via an iPad in their rooms were completely vulnerable to being controlled by anyone with the know-how. That means that lights, blinds, thermostats, TVs, and more could easily be controlled throughout the hotel by a hacker anywhere in the world. This may not sound like a big deal, but what happens when the door locks become controlled by your phone? The safe? As we try to connect more and more devices to each other, we often ignore the security considerations in favor of the convenience. At what point is that going to turn into massive hotel theft or worse?
There are a ton of other digital security issues to be aware of, most pressing of which is the wifi networks. You may love the ease of getting online away from home, but just how secure do you think these networks are? We have yet to learn of a massive data breach at a hotel through the wifi network, but considering all of the huge data incidents lately (Target, et al.), it seems like it’s only a matter of time.
Scared yet? Don’t be. Just being aware of the potential for digital security issues while you travel puts you ahead of the regular traveler. Be safe out there.