Most hotel chains these days rely on some sort of electronic key card mechanism rather than more traditional locks.
The company's security researchers have found a flaw in the lock system's software, known as Vision by VingCard, which could have been exploited by hackers to gain access to any room in a hotel, anywhere in the world.
F-Secure's researchers studied card keys from a wide range of hotels, and found that using hardware costing only a few hundred euros, they could create a tool allowing them to create so-called "master keys" that could bypass the protection offered by Assa Abloy's door locks.
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"An attacker will read the key and use a small hardware device to derive more keys to the facility".
Within minutes the device was able to generate a master key that could open any door in the building.
The researchers' interest in hacking hotel locks was sparked a decade ago when a colleague's laptop was stolen from a hotel room during a security conference. "Building a secure access control system is very hard because there are so many things you need to get right". We creatively combined these shortcomings to come up with a method for creating master keys'.
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F-Secure notified Assa Abloy - the lock manufacturer - of the findings and has collaborated with the firm over the past year to implement software fixes.
Affected hotels were provided with the software update in February, but it may take weeks before the issue is fully resolved, Assa Abloy told Reuters.
"I would like to personally thank the Assa Abloy R&D team for their excellent cooperation in rectifying these issues", says Tuominen.
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'Because of their diligence and willingness to address the problems identified by our research, the hospitality world is now a safer place.