Electronic hotel key cards are easily lost or forgotten after checkout, but researchers say that the cards contain no information that a potential hacker could use to access your personal data, according to a report by USA Today.
“You’ve got nothing to worry about. There’s nothing on here at all except the room number and a date field,” said Mickey Shkatov, a security researcher at McAfee, who read the information off of a collection of hotel key cards provided by reporters at a recent computer security conference.
More specifically, key cards contain the guest room number, when the key should start and stop working, and — in some cases — a guest number.
Bogus warnings about security issues surrounding key cards and the need to dispose of cards after a stay have circulated periodically on social media.
The caution notices apparently stem from a 15-year-old report from a police officer claiming that hotel key cards contain guest names, addresses, and credit card information — an assertion that was later debunked.
However, Shkatov warned that travellers should be careful to retain their key cards during their stay, noting that it is easy for a hacker to duplicate a key and use it to access a hotel room.