Hotel Attacks

31 January 2017, Predlitz-Turrach, Austria – hotel hacked, guests NOT trapped in their rooms, but security upgraded, nonetheless

On 28 January, The Local, an Austrian news source, reported that cybercriminals had recently hacked into the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt in Turrach. The attackers damaged the hotel’s electronic key system and also shut down all the hotel’s computers, which included the front desk, point of sale, and reservations systems. Initial press reports saying that hotel guests were locked in or out of their rooms have been retracted by one of the original reporting sources, and Cristoph Brandstaetter, manager of the hotel, told Motherboard, “It was just a normal cyber attack and no guests were locked in.” Brandstaetter did say, however, that they were unable to make electronic room keys for new guests. Because of this last issue, there is continued reporting suggesting that scores of guests, and not just new guests, were locked out of their rooms. (Interviews with hotel guests who were … Continue reading

14 January 2017, hotel attacks in Gondar and Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Two hotel attacks in recent weeks are indicative of the increasing political violence happening in Ethiopia. It is a complex situation involving several ethnic and political issues that are spiraling out of control, making Ethiopia unstable. Civilians, both local and foreign, are in the crosshairs, as are hotels. The most recent hotel attack, says Geeska Afrika Online, happened on 10 January between 8:00-8:30 p.m. when terrorists threw a grenade into the Entasol Hotel in Gondar. Some reporting says the seat of the blast was the hotel bar, which was full of people watching a local soccer/football match on television. The explosion killed four and wounded as many as 30, reports Borkena. (Earlier reports said one killed and 19 wounded.) The U.S. Embassy suspended travel for its employees to Gondar as a result of the attack. The Entasol appears to be a roadside motel type establishment, touted … Continue reading

3 October 2016, Washington, DC

ABC news reports that just after 4:00 p.m. on 1 October, an unknown man spray-painted, “No justice,” and a red line/circle drawn through the word “peace,” and “Black lives matter – Van,” on either side of the 12th Street entrance to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. The term “Van” was written in red. It is not exactly clear what this term meant. It might have been the vandal’s graffiti signature. The Trump hotel, on 12th and Pennsylvania, is the Old Post Office Pavilion. Mr. Trump’s real-estate company signed a 60-year lease for the property for the express purpose of converting it into a hotel. The vandal was videoed in broad daylight, and his actions were posted by the twitter account, @AngryBlackManDC, and multiple news outlets. He was a male wearing a yellow shirt, dark pants, white sneakers, and a white hat, … Continue reading

20-21 September, Charlotte, North Carolina

On the evenings of 20-21 September in Charlotte, North Carolina, political violence in the form of rioting, vandalism, intimidation, and assault impacted at least seven hotels in the city’s downtown business district – mostly the Trade and College streets area – reports The Charlotte Observer. The damage was significant enough for the Observer to say, “Uptown hotels spent Thursday repairing damage and reassuring guests following a violent night of protesting that cast their properties in an international spotlight.” The political violence resulted from a Black Lives Matter style protests over the 20 September police shooting of N.C. resident Keith Lamont Scott. Police assert Mr. Scott had a firearm on his person and would not relinquish it when they sought to detain him. This resulted resulted in the shooting, say authorities. Mr. Scott’s family insisted he had no firearm and say police murdered him … Continue reading

10 September 2016, update on the Southern View Hotel bombing, Pattani, Thailand

On 8 September, Thai authorities announced that 32-year old Hakeem Doloh, a Pattani native, had been linked to both the Southern View hotel bombing on 23 August, and the mid-south bombings between 10-14 August. Regarding the latter, Mr. Doloh was specifically linked to the 11 August firebombing of a Tesco Lotus store in Nakhon Si Thammarat, which is well outside the established insurgency zone. The charges against the suspect, reports The Nation, are as follows: “premeditated murder, attempted murder, terrorism, possession of an explosive without permission, detonating the bomb, and racketeering.” This revelation simply reinforces the Thailand threat warnings posted here and here by Muir Analytics. The insurgency is now attacking well beyond its traditional borders, and it is attacking civilian establishments, including hotels and tourist spots. More attacks against these type targets in Thailand’s mid-south and throughout the rest of Thailand, including … Continue reading

23 August 2016, Pattani, Thailand

The Bangkok Post reports that two bombs detonated at the Southern View Hotel in Pattani, Thailand, on 23 August, killing two and wounding 40. The first bomb exploded in a bar inside the hotel at 10:40 pm, causing people to flee the building. As first responders arrived, a second device hidden in an ambulance parked in front of the hotel exploded, causing massive damage. The Southern View Hotel is an eight-story, 100-room hotel. It appears to be a 3-4 star establishment with a conference center. Damage to the hotel was severe as demonstrated by pictures from the Daily Mail here. Financial estimates of the carnage are reported at 30 million baht, about $867,566.00 USD, but pictures of the damage suggest a higher figure of well over $1 million USD. The blasts damaged 68 nearby properties and more than 14 cars and motorcycles. Lost … Continue reading

14 July 2016, Tijuana, Mexico

On 14 July at 7:30 pm,* (*Mexico-based new outlets say pm, the San Diego Union-Tribune says am) in Tijuana, Mexico, a gunman walked into the lobby of the Marriott Hotel and shot dead one Jorge Kalb Zarmaei, 37, an American, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Zarmaei’s 71-year old father was also wounded in the attack. Jorge Astiazarán, mayor of Tijuana, told the press that the gunman specifically targeted these two people, and that it was an isolated incident. Baja’s Deputy Attorney General for Special Investigations, José María González, said the attack had nothing to do with cartel activity, and that it was specifically related to a business dispute. El Viga, a Tijuana news outlet, says the victims were Miami, Florida-based hotel investors. They have also been referred to as tobacco investors and persons negotiating with the Mexican government to provide some type of … Continue reading

12 July 2016, Yet another major hotel hack, this one on Omni

Teri Robinson, Executive Editor of SC Magazine, penned an article on 12 July 2016 titled, “Malware on Omni Hotel POS systems scarfed payment card info.” It describes a point of sale (POS) hack of Omni Hotel and Resort’s Internet system. In the piece, Robinson quoted Omni as saying: “The malware was designed to collect certain payment card information, including cardholder name, credit/debit card number, security code and expiration date,” the Dallas-based company said, explaining that the investigation found no evidence that its reservation or Select Guest membership systems had been compromised. “There is no evidence that other customer information, such as contact information, Social Security numbers or PINs, were affected by this issue.” Omni has a website dedicated to hacking mitigation for its patrons here. Robinson wrote, “Customers that did not physically present a payment card at a POS system at an affected Omni location … Continue reading

1 June 2016, Mogadishu, Somalia

On 1 June 2016 at 5:45 pm, al Shabaab fighters attacked the Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu, killing 13 and wounding 40, reports CNN. Al Shabaab used a car bomb at the hotel’s front gate to initiate the attack, followed by two or three gunmen armed with AK-47s that penetrated the hotel’s interior. Muir Analytics refers to this tactic as the “Mogadishu special,” because of its frequent use in Mogadishu. Once inside, the gunmen continued fighting for 12 hours until the next morning on 2 June when Somali Special Forces (Gashan) engaged with, and killed the fighters, reports the BBC. Scores of Somali lawmakers and investors were in the hotel at the time. The Ambassador is a popular socializing spot for these type personnel. The government was holding a conference at the hotel at the time of the attack, says The Guardian, in part … Continue reading

15 January 2016, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

On 15 January, six terrorists from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) raided and occupied the 147-room, four star Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, killing 29 and wounding 56, reports the BBC and CNN. The hotel and nearby restaurants are popular with foreigners. The attack began at 7:30 pm and lasted 15 hours, says the Daily Mail. The victims were made up of more than 15 nationalities, at least 14 of which were foreigners. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on 19 January that three attackers were killed, and three remained at large, the latter of which were being pursued. It is not clear if the attackers approached the target in two vehicles or on foot, but what is clear is that they first attacked a café-restaurant called Cappuccino across the street from the Splendid Hotel on Avenue Kwame Nkrumah. All six terrorists … Continue reading