Hotel Safes Are Easily Hacked, and This Is the Code That Gets You In

Here's how to keep your valuables safe in a hotel room.

What's the first thing you do when you get into your hotel room? If you're anything like us, first you wash your hands. (Because air travel — yuck!) Then, you probably stash your most valuable items — your passport, cash, and jewelry, for instance — in the hotel room's safe. Tucked away in the closet, and safeguarded with a code that you choose yourself on the spot, the safe should keep your things secure, right?

Spoiler: Wrong.

The so-called "LockPickingLawyer" proves this easily in a two-minute video, uploaded to YouTube and cited in Travel + Leisure. The clip shows its creator first inserting a valuable 16-year-old scotch whiskey into the Saflok-brand safe, which he then sets with a personal code. To show that the safe is indeed working — at least apparently working — he tries to enter it with the wrong code, and fails.

But this is where the disconcerting part comes in. Noting that the hotel did not reset the product's default administrator code — which it can use to override travelers' personal codes and open their safes if need be — he easily puts the safe in "super-user" mode, and then tries a common, impossible-to-forget string of numbers: 999999. That's when the safe immediately opens.

So what have we learned here? First of all, if you forgot the code you entered into your Saflok safe when you arrived jet lagged and bleary... well here's one you can try. Beyond that, if you really need to safeguard those variables, and need to leave nothing to chance, call the hotel front desk and watch a security staffer reset the admin code right on the spot.

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