Just how secure is mobile key?

Salto Systems

This article is part three of a three-part series on mobile key. Part one can be found here and part two can be found here.

The truth is that mobile key is the safest room access option on the market today, with multiple layers of security. That’s the case made by Brian Shedd, VP of sales and marketing for OpenKey.

“Frequent travelers will leave their keycard in their jacket to help them remember the room number—providing any thief with everything they need to find and access their room,” he said. “Digital keys are initially protected by the password, passcode or pattern used by 86 percent of smartphone users to protect unauthorized access to their device.”

Most use 128-bit encryption of the keycode to provide an additional layer of security against hacking or remote attempts to gain access to the room.

“Hotels must underscore the fact that their mobile application was developed with security in mind and that they have passed security audits performed by independent subject-matter experts,” said Joey Yanire, assistant VP, mobile access lodging systems, dormakaba.

Hoteliers will want to consider the benefits of contactless radio frequency ID, which might offer a better guest experience than traditional magnetic keycards, said Casy Fale, GM of Onity.

“Some hotels are adapting [the] Mifare [brand of] contactless credentials for use with multiple purposes, such as loyalty cards, payment systems and food and beverage catering, in addition to keycards for door locks. For credential security, there are different configuration options, such as Mifare Classic or Mifare Plus—both are products of NXP. Several hotel brands are considering using Mifare Plus to upgrade security.”

Markus Boberg, VP of business development at Assa Abloy Hospitality, said that guests need to know that mobile key is secure and uses credential technology. “Ensuring that all hotel staff are well versed in how the technology works so they can adequately inform guests regarding security features is a first step to assure guests of the safety of their digital information,” he said. “Showing that hotel staff is knowledgeable about their digital-key solutions will help make guests feel safer when using the technology themselves because it builds trust with the hotel and the technologies they are choosing to use.”

Guest concerns about mobile locks are due to a need for better education and greater awareness, Shedd agreed. “Hotels should ensure that all front-desk staff are properly trained on digital-key provisioning, have their own security protocols in place regarding guest identification and conduct routine audits of digital key guestroom access to reassure guests of the safety and security provided by mobile key entry.”