Hotel and Airbnb Security - Part 2
As my first post on this topic pretty much got railroaded onto the hidden camera topic, I wanted to talk a little more about hotel security.
First, we have general hotel security, things like, always, staying with your luggage. I know it is easy to set them down in a corner and go wait in line at the busy front desk, but it is so easy for someone to steal, or place objects inside your baggage.
When selecting a room, ask for one that is in the rear of the hotel and on the third-six floor. You want to choose the rear, as the front is where a terrorist would place the bomb to get the most media exposure from any damage caused. The first and second floors are too easy for someone to break into and the higher floors are more difficult to escape in the event of an emergency (too high for fire ladders and too many stairs to escape down).
Make sure that your room number is not spoken out loud and in earshot of someone other than hotel staff, and ask for a different room. Most reputable hotels will not tell you the number, but instead, write it down. However, some still announce it out loud. Also, make sure that you don’t set your credit card down. The art of credit card skimming (watch for a future post) is extremely popular and easy to perform. When the staff hands the card back to you, make sure that it is your actual card.
It is a good habit to ask for a hotel business card, so you can place it near the phone in the event of an emergency, and the second card goes with you when you leave the hotel. If you have a great memory and can remember the hotel details, then you might forgo this suggestion.
Always check the room before you settle in, check the closet, the shower, and behind the curtains, to make sure someone isn’t hiding in the room. If you are accompanied to the room, you will want to check the door locks to make sure that they were not taped open, or something stuffed in the latch to keep the door from securely locking.
Note that any lock on the door can be compromised (more on that later), so use a door wedge to secure the door, especially if you are sleeping or in the shower. Make sure you have a flashlight in the room that you can access, you might want to put it next to the bed.
Once you are in the room and are comfortable with your surroundings. It is time to look for those hidden cameras.
I’m not going to go in-depth on the hidden cameras, there will be a post later on some of the electronic tools and I give them a go-to to see how they work.
Right now I’m going to get back to hotel security.
I talked about door locks and how easy they are to defeat. Here are a few amateur videos to demonstrate this.
How about hacking the electronic key locks themselves?
**NOTE** This issue was 10 years ago, and should be resolved in just about every hotel, but I’m sure there are some that haven’t deployed the upgrades. Also, if it can be hacked that easily once, it could in theory be done again, using a different technique. The key card locks used at hotels, all have an input port somewhere on the bottom, so the hotel staff can program the device. A hacker knows that if there is an input port, then there is a hack, using the port as their way in.
How To Protect Yourself
Wow, okay, none of those devices are effective, so how can you keep yourself safe in a hotel? That is easy, you could look into a personal portable door alarm. Amazon sells a bunch of them and they basically sound an alarm if the door is opened. But if you are more concerned about keeping the intruder on the other side of the door, then maybe a door wedge device is what you are looking for.
Door Wedge and Door Stop
Another similar device is the lock locker, which is a device that ensures that the deadbolt can’t be opened from the outside of the room. However, I’m not a huge fan of this device in a hotel as I have seen some door locks where the deadbolt opens and closes when you use the key card to open the door. That means that this device might be rendered useless.
The Hotel Room Safe
I never use it, it is one of the first places that someone will look, it is very easy to break into. Most hotel maids know the master code to unlock it as well. Never hide anything under the mattress as that is usually the next place someone is going to look.
Another thing you might want to do is familiarize yourself with the fire exits in the hotel as well as where the stairs are if you used the elevator to get to your room.
Stay tuned for more about Hotel and Airbnb Security.