Lost your hotel key? No reason to worry about data security

Hotel key card (iStock)

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.

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