Device can open hotel room locks

You lock your door as you leave your hotel room. You presume that your things inside are safe. Don’t be so sure. Thieves now use a small, simple device that can unlock hotel doors. They use a homemade gadget to pop electronic doors. They are able to break into a hotel room in seconds — no kicking the door, no fancy tools.

This security flaw is so alarming, even hotel managers are stunned. “That’s absolutely insane,” one said. The device is so small, thieves can hide it inside their pocket. And criminals are learning how to make it watching videos posted online.

All thieves have to do is plug it in, and it acts like a master key, even bypassing the deadbolt, giving criminals access while you are not in the room. These locks are some of the most common in hotels worldwide.

One guest in a Sydney hotel that did not want to be identified was ripped off his laptop, his wife of her jewellery.

So what’s being done? The hotel industry and the company that makes the locks have known about the problem since two years ago. They say they have broadly communicated available solutions. But to this day, many hotels are still in the dark.