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October 03, 2012

OpenWays Finds Solution to Cody Brocious's Infamous Hotel Lock Hack

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

Over the summer, software engineer Cody Brocious revealed that Onity keycard locks have a flaw that allows hackers to open them by inserting a homemade device, unsettling many, as Onity’s locks outfit over four million hotel rooms worldwide.

Brocious made the announcement at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, showing conventioneers his device, which, for less than $50 to build, could decode the decryption key via a data port on the bottom of the locks in question – quickly garnering the attention of Forbes’ Andy Greenburg.

Following the conference, Onity announced some updates on August 13; however, Brocious was not convinced that the updates would suffice, blogging about his concerns.

He commended the company, but he felt more was necessary in order to secure the rooms from hackers, who were quickly able to replicate and even improve upon the device that he brought to Black Hat.

 “Onity should get credit for responding to these issues and taking steps to mitigate them,” he wrote. “The plan announced is not perfect, but it's absolutely a step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing it put into action and hope that the issues I raised in this post will be addressed.”

Now, mobile-based access management solution provider, OpenWays, has provided a solution that will satisfy Onity, hoteliers and even Brocious. OpenWays has leveraged its Mobile Key platform, which allows hotel guests to open their room lock with their cell phone to address the problem. They foresee great benefits to all hotel rooms with Onity locks, as they are “simpler to deploy and can be made available globally to all hotels impacted, effective immediately.”

In the interest of security, OpenWays is providing hotels that are affected by the security issue with a fix free of license fees.

Thanks to OpenWays, hotel guests should be able to rest easier, knowing that they are no longer subject to the lock hack that had disastrous implications.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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