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Beware of hotel room security threat

NEW YORK (12/18/12)--Thieves have developed a simple device that can unlock room doors at some of the most popular hotel chains, potentially putting you and your belongings at risk (NBC Today: Rossen Report Dec. 6).
While industry groups search for a solution, stay safe by using the security chain on hotel room doors and, when you leave your room, put your valuables in the room safe or take them with you.
Thieves find online video instructions for making the unlocking devices at sites such as YouTube, and often hide them in magic markers. The burglars can use these devices to quickly open electronic locks you usually open with a hotel key card.
Security expert Jim Stickley, chief technology officer and co-founder of TraceSecurity, Baton Rouge, La., demonstrated the process at numerous chain hotels, astonishing managers. The devices act as master keys, even opening the deadbolt locks inside doors in potentially millions of hotel rooms.
Onity, the company that makes the widely used locks, has given some hotels plastic caps to cover the ports that fraudsters' devices use to unlock doors, but Stickley says the fix is ineffective. Hotels also can pay to upgrade their locks. Until hotels solve this security issue, keep yourself and your belongings safe.

For related information, read "New Cybercrime Trends Developing" and watch the video "Phishing: Don't Take the Baite" in the Home & Family Finances Resource Center.
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