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Thursday Buzz: Hotel Key Security Crisis

Researchers uncover a major security flaw related to hotel room keys used around the world. Also: Your members think selfishly—and you can take advantage of that.

The hospitality industry could have a big security problem on its hands.

On Wednesday, the tech company F-Secure announced it had found that a common kind of security system used by hotels around the world has design flaws in its software that make it susceptible to exploits.

The Finnish researchers revealed that they were able to use the details on a keycard to create a “master key” with the ability to open any room in a hotel.

“You can imagine what a malicious person could do with the power to enter any hotel room, with a master key created basically out of thin air,” said Tomi Tuominen, a practice leader at F-Secure Cyber Security Services, in a news release.

The company began researching the issue a decade ago, after an employee’s laptop had been stolen from a conference and there was no sign of forced entry, suggesting that there might be security issues with the ubiquitous keys.

The researchers emphasized that they “don’t know of anyone else performing this particular attack in the wild right now.”

Nonetheless, the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, is reportedly working on a fix. So hopefully, F-Secure’s work might ensure more secure hotel rooms at your next convention.

Thinking of Ourselves First

We talk a lot about our organizations as communities, but self-interest is still king for many people—including members. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Amanda Kaiser.

Associations can make self-interest  work in their favor if they think it through. “Only organizations that solve our members’ problems, speak their language, and understand them will get their time and attention,” Kaiser writes in a Smooth the Path blog post.

Other Links of Note

Jeff Bezos has banned PowerPoint at Amazon. According to Inc., here’s what the company does instead.

A little more wearable. More than a year after Snapchat started selling its Spectacles wearable glasses, it’s released an updated version that, according to TechCrunch, improves on the original in a way that could take the specs mainstream.

Research matters. At Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog, guest blogger Beth Hallowell makes the case for thoughtful communications research in building a strategy.

(BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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