Hotel Hacking

The Hotel Room Hacker - Wired

Excerpt from Wired

Inside an Epic Hotel Room Hacking Spree

On a warm Phoenix night five years ago, Aaron Cashatt walked down the red-carpeted hall of the second floor of a Marriott hotel, trying to move casually despite the adrenaline and methamphetamine surging through his bloodstream. Six feet tall with blond, close-cropped hair, he wore a black sports coat and baseball cap and kept his head down so the hat’s brim hid his face from surveillance cameras.

When he found a quiet stretch of hallway, Cashatt chose a door and knocked. No answer. He pulled out a sunglasses case from his pocket, flipped it open, and removed a small tangle of wires connected to a circuit board and a nine-volt battery. On one end of that loosely assembled gadget was a cord attached to a plug. He looked at the keycard lock on the door in front of him, a metallic box that offered a vertical slot ready to accept a guest’s keycard like a piece of bread into a toaster.

Cashatt didn’t have a keycard. Instead, he reached underneath the lock on the door until his finger found a small, circular port and inserted the plug of his device. Then he held a frayed wire coming off the board to one end of the battery, completing an electric circuit. Instantly, the lock whirred as its bolt retracted, and a green light flashed above the door handle.

For a moment, Cashatt stared in shock, almost disbelief. “It was like the heavens had opened,” he’d say of the moment years later.

Cashatt pushed open the unlocked door, walked into the room, and closed the door behind him. Even in his meth-addled state, he was so taken aback by his success in hacking his way in that he laid down on the room’s king-size bed for perhaps a full minute, his heart racing.

Then he sat upright and started thinking about what he could steal.

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