It’s officially July which means travel season for many families has kicked into high gear. With that in mind, Guy Philips jumped right into Tech Talk at the KTRS studio this week with a great question about HID key cards from hotels for SumnerOne’s IT Expert, Jeff Groby.
Are Hotel HID Cards Safe to Use?
The first thing you get when you check into a hotel is likely your key on what is known as an HID card that stores electronic data and allows access to your room. Guy's burning questions really boiled down to what types of info can they store and is that information safe? Hotel keys are generally pretty safe and only contain dates of your stay and a series of numbers that allow access to your hotel room. According to Jeff, most major hotel chains have agreed not to store pertinent customer information on your key card as a precaution. It’s always best to ask and even so, be sure to keep your key card in a safe location while traveling. If you lose it, be sure to alert the staff at your hotel as soon as possible so they can change the codes and give you a new key card so someone who finds your card with ulterior motives can’t sidetrack your trip or vacation. Once you return your key, Jeff confirmed that the hotels use a process referred to a degauzing to clear any info left behind on your card and will often reissue the card to another guest.
Some resorts and even festivals are taking advantage of new devices and embedding your personal and payment info into wearable devices such as Disney’s Magic Bands. These are a bit more safe in that it sends encrypted information to a receiver that then interprets that info and charges your credit card similar to how ApplePay would work on your mobile phone. Heidi even mentioned that she had an arm band at Bonnaroo and was able to make purchases without having to pull out her credit card. Since these devices contain financial information, it’s always a good idea to make sure you keep them in a safe place and when finished using them, make sure they’re wiped and disposed of properly.
What’s the Best Way to Protect the Data in Your Wallet?
Guy mentioned that he now carries an RFID wallet to keep his credit cards in to prevent theft. Jeff explained that an RFID blocking wallet is a simply a Farraday Cage. A Farraday Cage is basically a series of wires in a wallet that deflect static or electrical impulses preventing someone from stealing your data. This is particularly effective if you have a chip enabled credit card that you’re able to wave at a card reader and read the info without swiping. Jeff mentioned that he even carries an RFID wallet which are available at retail locations and online retailers and are a wise investment in this day and age.
Guy jumped to the phone lines as Jeff took a call from Tony, who was concerned that he was the victim of an attempted telephone scam. He answered a call from an unfamiliar caller who then indicated that someone was trying to purchase two cell phones on his mobile account and they needed him to confirm some payment information. Jeff says always be wary and NEVER answer a call from an unfamiliar number as it could be a scam. Legitimate callers will always leave a voicemail and shouldn’t ask for confirmation of personal or financial information. If you’re unsure, hang up and call your carrier or financial institution directly to inquire about the nature of the call.
Don't forget to subscribe to our SumnerOne blog to find the weekly recap from Tech Talk on The Big 550 KTRS. We'll be back in the studio with Guy Phillips and his crew this Friday afternoon at 4:20 to talk about more trends in cyber security. In the meantime, if you have questions or want to learn more about SumnerOne, give us a call.