Study shows hotels' Internet connections unsafe

October 1, 2008 By George Lowery

(PhysOrg.com) -- Travelers who use a hotel's Internet network risk the possibility of data theft, concludes a new study from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration.

The analysis of the networks in 46 hotels and a survey of 147 U.S. hotels found that a majority of the hotels do not use all available tools to maintain network security.

For example, about 20 percent of the hotels surveyed still use simple hub-type systems, which are most vulnerable to hacking. The findings of the firsthand analysis of 46 hotels were no more encouraging.

"Even with hotels that required authentication, I found helpful employees who got me past that barrier," said Josh Ogle '08, a Cornell Hotel School graduate, president of TriVesta LLC. and a co-author of the study. "So, authentication is not as effective as we think, and then I found that of the 39 hotels that offered WiFi connections, only six used encryption to help protect the system."

Added co-author Erica L. Wagner, assistant professor of information systems at the Hotel School: "On balance, we were forced to conclude that guests' data transmissions are often at risk when they use a hotel's network. However, we did find hotels that were paying attention to the security of their guests' data. I should point out that improving security does not have to be costly."

The report concludes with a case study of the W Dallas - Victory Hotel, which has taken a security step not used by most hotels. "What the W Dallas has done is to set up each node on its network as a virtual local area network, or VLAN," explained co-author Mark P. Talbert, a Hotel School senior lecturer in information systems. "By using these VLANs, the hotel has separated each guest's computer in a way that should protect against stolen data. It also gives the hotel greater control over the guest side of the network."

Provided by Cornell University

Explore further: Cold symptoms feel worse when people feel lonely

Related Stories

Cities throw shade at rising heat

March 29, 2017

Rudy Lane is a two-lane road that curves through the leafy suburb of Windy Hills east of Louisville, Ky. Broadway is a main drag downtown where the federal and state courthouses bump up against the 1920s-era Brown Hotel.

New research may beat back bedbug epidemic

March 23, 2017

A new biopesticide developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that's helping to push crucial discoveries ...

Are smart buildings safe from hackers and privacy breaches?

March 14, 2017

The automated home and office market is predicted to grow quickly in the next few years. But as reports of cyber attacks increase, is it still possible for a home to be a castle in the age of smart buildings, or are we lowering ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.