Financial News

  • 7 August 2014, 13:58

Hacking Expert 'Took Control Of 200 Hotel Rooms'

A computer expert took control of 200 luxury hotel rooms after spotting a security flaw in his complimentary in-room iPad.

Security consultant Jesus Molina was staying in the five-star St Regis hotel in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, when he said he got bored one evening.

He started to play around with the in-room iPad and reverse-engineered an insecure home automation protocol called KNX/IP.

By doing so, he was able to control lights, blinds, temperature and other things in his room.

He discovered that by changing the last digit of the device's IP address he could take over other devices elsewhere in the hotel.

Following that discovery, Mr Molina mapped out the IP addresses for rooms in the rest of the hotel using a computer script he had written.

Speaking at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, he said: "I thought about looking to see if a similar system controlled the door locks but got scared."

After the discovery, he got in touch with the hotel's parent company to highlight the flaw.

It is understood that the loophole has now been closed.

He told the audience at his talk - called Learn How To Control Every Room At A Luxury Hotel Remotely - that he "did not hack" the system.

Instead he said he simply "abused" the KNX protocol, which was created back in the early 90s.

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