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Hackers Demand Bitcoin Ransom From Hotel After Locking Hundreds Of Guests

30 January 2017, 12:00 pm EST By Amy Gordon Tech Times
Hackers attacked a hotel in Austria and guests were locked in their rooms, and the electronic systems disabled and manipulated. The systems were released only after the hackers' demand for 1,500 euros (about $1,600) bitcoin ransom was paid.  ( Zach Copley | Flickr )

The Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt in Austria was the victim of a cyberattack that led to the hotel losing a substantial sum of money as ransom, albeit in bitcoins.

Cybercriminals hacked into the 4-star hotel's IT systems containing all the information regarding room allotment and client details.

The hotel's staff thought of divulging the information to the media so that they could warn the public of the dangers of cybercrime. They revealed that the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt had been a victim of cyberattack three times.

Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt is a 111-year-old luxurious hotel that caters to providing the best services to its customers. The luxury hotel was unprepared for the unfortunate series of events and was taken aback by the intrusion.

While recollecting the nightmare, the manager disclosed to the media how the hackers locked up most of the guests. Nearly 180 people were witness to this turmoil.

As the winter season had just begun, the hackers entered the hotel on the first day to ransack the systems and render them inoperable. They accessed the IT system of the hotel and shut down everything including the reservation information and also manipulated the electronic key system, thereby making all the activities come to a halt.

Payment Of Ransom

The hackers asked for a ransom of 1,500 euros, or about $1,600, to release the information system, but the payment was to be made via the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The helpless authorities had no other way out and in the end, gave in to the hackers' demands.

"The house was totally booked with 180 guests, we had no other choice. Neither police nor insurance help you in this case," noted Christoph Brandstaetter, the hotel's MD.

After the payment was made to the hackers, the system resumed functioning.

"The restoration of our system after the first attack in summer has cost us several thousand Euros. We did not get any money from the insurance so far because none of those to blame could be found," added Brandstaetter.

As reported by Tech Times earlier in January, a similar cyberattack had taken place at the Los Angeles Community College District where a ransom of $28,000 was paid to hackers through bitcoins in return for the decryption keys.

According to the hotel, the hackers did not completely exit the system and attempted to attack for the fourth time via a backdoor recently. This, however, was not possible as the computers were replaced and the security tightened and latest measures integrated. Moreover, the management and security team had decoupled some networks, which thankfully disabled any further intrusion by the hackers.

Photo: Zach Copley | Flickr

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