Christmas Travel Alert: Popular Guest WiFi System Used by Hundreds of Hotels Contains Security Flaws
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Christmas Travel Alert: Popular Guest WiFi System Used by Hundreds of Hotels Contains Security Flaws

Christmas Travel Alert: Popular Guest WiFi System Used by Hundreds of Hotels Contains Security Flaws

A security researcher appears to have discovered major security flaws in an internet gateway used by hundreds of hotels to manage their gues WiFi networks that could put the personal information of guests at risk. TechCrunch reports that security researcher Etizaz Mohsin recently stated that the “Airangel HSMX” gateway used by many hotels for gues WiFi access includes hardcoded passwords that are “extremely easy to guess.” The passwords could be used to remotely gain access to the gateway’s settings and databases which store records about the guests that are using the WiFi. A hotel guest stands at the front desk (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) studying code (AFP) A hacker could use this access to copy guest records or change network settings to redirect guests to malicious webpages. In 2018, Mohsin discovered one of these gateways in a hotel he was staying at and found that the gateway was synchronizing files from another server. Mohsin found that the server contained hundreds of gateway backup files from some of the most expensive and high-profile hotels in the world.

The server included the details of “millions” of guests, including their names, email addresses, arrival, and departure dates. Mohsin reported the bug and the server was secured shortly afterward, but he began to wonder if hotel WiFi systems had other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Mohsin found five vulnerabilities that he believes could compromise the gateway, including ones that gave him access to guests’ information. Mohsin reported the issues to Airangel, but for months the bug remained unfixed. A representative told Mohsin that the guest WiFi device was discontinued and as a result was no longer supported. But Mohsin noted that the device is still regularly used by hotels, malls, convention centers, and more around the world, unaware that they could be putting users’ information at risk. “Given the level of access that this chain of vulnerabilities offers to attackers, there is seemingly no limit to what they [hackers] could do,” Mohsin told TechCrunch. Concerned travelers should ask their hotel if this hardware is in use as there isn’t an easy guide to hotels using the particular gateway. At the @Hack conference in Saudi Arabia last month, Mohsin held a presentation detailing his findings. Airangel has so far not responded to requests for comment and does not appear to plan to fix the bugs anytime soon. Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com.

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