Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

The Alarming Secret Code Thieves Use to Unlock Hotel Room Safes

When it comes to keeping our valuable belongings secure, we often rely on hotel room safes. However, recent revelations by security experts have exposed a disturbing flaw in these safes. A simple code can easily override their security features, leaving our valuables vulnerable to theft. Let’s dive into this concerning issue and explore the importance of ensuring the safety of our belongings while traveling.

Default Settings: An Open Door for Thieves

The underlying problem lies in the default settings left by manufacturers. They often include an override code that allows users to open the safe if they forget their own code. This default code, if not changed by hotel management, can be easily exploited by thieves. In a shocking YouTube video uploaded by the “Lock Picking Lawyer,” a man demonstrates how to break into a Saflok safe using this override code.

Breaking the Safe Code

In the video, the man locks a valuable bottle of Scotch whisky inside the safe using a four-digit code. He then purposely enters an incorrect code to demonstrate the safe’s resistance to unauthorized access. However, he quickly reveals that thieves don’t even need to know the correct code to open the safe.

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“What this hotel failed to do was reset the administrator password provided by the factory,” he explains. By entering the “super-user mode” and pressing the lock button, followed by the code 999999, the safe effortlessly opens, granting unrestricted access to its contents.

A Widespread Security Concern

Stefan Vito Hiller, a global risk consultant to hotels with Sky Touch Consulting, confirms that this security risk is a genuine problem in the hotel industry. Hiller warns that this issue exists not only in cheap hotels but also in four- and five-star establishments worldwide. During security audits, default code settings are often discovered due to a lack of product knowledge on the part of hotel management.

The default code can vary depending on the manufacturer, with common options being 111111, 000000, 1111, 9999, or 0000. While some safe manufacturers configure their products differently and eliminate default code settings, the risk persists in many hotels.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Belongings

To protect your valuables during your travels, it is crucial to take certain precautions:

  • Check for Default Codes: Before storing anything in the safe, ensure that the hotel has changed the default code.
  • Verify Proper Installation: Confirm that the safe is securely mounted to the wall rather than just the furniture.
  • Choose a Unique Code: Avoid using easily guessable codes such as birth dates, room numbers, or check-in dates.
  • Keep Your Room Secure: Always keep your hotel room door closed to deter potential thieves.
  • Opt for Certified Hotels: For maximum safety, consider staying in hotels certified in Global Hotel Security Standards, such as the Global Lighthouse Certification Program.
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Enhancing Hotel Security Measures

Hotels also play a significant role in ensuring the security of their guests’ belongings. Stefan Vito Hiller proposes the following measures to improve hotel security:

  • Replace Default Codes: Hotel management should check all safes for default codes and replace them with unique codes known only to authorized personnel.
  • Conduct Regular Security Walk-Rounds: Regularly inspect hotel rooms to check for any open bedroom doors, ensuring the safety of guests’ belongings.
  • Increase Security Awareness: Display security awareness signs throughout the hotel to remind guests to secure their valuables in the safe.
  • Train Staff: Provide comprehensive training to hotel staff regarding security awareness and how to identify suspicious behavior.
  • Implement Hotel Security Policies: Establish robust security policies and procedures within the hotel to promote a safe environment for guests.
  • Regular Security Audits: Conduct periodic security audits and strive to achieve certification in Global Hotel Security Standards.

It is crucial to address this alarming vulnerability in hotel room safes to protect travelers’ valuables effectively. By remaining vigilant and implementing proper security measures, both hotels and guests can contribute to a safer and more secure travel experience.

Note: The article previously included a photograph of an Elsafe Infinity I model safe. It is important to clarify that Elsafe safes do not utilize master codes and offer a significantly higher level of security override. Therefore, the concerns mentioned in this article do not apply to Elsafe products. We appreciate the clarification provided by Assa Abloy Hospitality Ltd, the primary supplier of this model – 15/5/18.

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