When ransomware strikes, its impact could range from mild to severe. Sometimes, ransomware targets regular users, while other times, it targets important mega-corporations (or even police stations). In this latest incident, it affected a hotel, and subsequently ran the risk of affecting all of its guests.
Here it is, the downright gorgeous Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt in Austria. Staying at a place like this is the stuff dreams are made of. It could feel like paradise on Earth; certainly not a place where you'd expect to have to deal with the major hassle of being locked out of your room against even the hotel's will.
This hotel, like so many others, integrates many of its intricate utilities into a central location; all of which are computer-controlled. The hotel found out the hard way what can happen when an attacker can gain access to such a system. Out of nowhere, this hotel couldn't issue new key cards, and all of its current ones wouldn't work. Further, new guests were unable to be checked in, which is a true nightmare for hotel staff.
Fortunately, while the attack took place, all of the hotel's guests were allegedly out and about, taking in the beautiful slopes that litter the area. Also fortunate: the hotel's ransom wasn't that severe - a mere 2 Bitcoin, equivalent to $1,600 USD. Due to the prompt payment, most hotel guests could have been unaware that an attack even took place.
Interestingly, the hotel plans to fight this problem by going a classic route: installing mechanical locks, in lieu of digital ones. This sounds a bit hasty, as the cost and work involved seems unnecessary, and mechanical locks are not without their own faults. If anything, digital locks could end up being more secure, but the software controlling those locks must also be adequately secured from attacks.