This month’s roundup of news from the technology sector including how hackers clone master keys; GDPR closer to reality; and more.
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How hackers spoof master keys
A pair of security researchers are sharing the results of more than a decade’s worth of work proving a way that hackers can, and have, cloned hotel master keys, effectively giving themselves access to every guestroom on property, according to a report from Wired.
“With a $300 Proxmark RFID card reading and writing tool, any expired keycard pulled from the trash of a target hotel, and a set of cryptographic tricks developed over close to 15 years of on-and-off analysis of the codes Vingcard electronically writes to its keycards, they found a method to vastly narrow down a hotel's possible master key code,” Wired reports. “They can use that handheld Proxmark device to cycle through all the remaining possible codes on any lock at the hotel, identify the correct one in about 20 tries, and then write that master code to a card that gives the hacker free reign to roam any room in the building. The whole process takes about a minute.”
GDPR approaches reality
We’re quickly approaching 25 May, the day the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect. The new data privacy and handling rules will be hugely impactful to both businesses and consumers, and Forbes is the latest news outlet to give a high-level overview of what the rules mean.
In related news, Wired reports that Google and Facebook—two companies famous for their practices of hoarding consumer data—are trying to “game the system.”
Some believe regulation will help home-sharing platforms
A level playing field has long been the rallying cry for hoteliers frustrated with platforms like Airbnb, which don’t seem to follow the same regulations around things like safety and security. But Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans believes stricter regulation of the space will prove to be helpful for the home-sharing space, Bloomberg reports.
“If a city today has uncertain regulation, many people don’t put their houses up,” she said. “There’s so much gray area.” If regulations can provide clarity and put homeowners at ease, more of them will jump into the market, Tans said.
A wave of Chinese tech companies are going public
Some fast-growing Chinese technology companies are looking to make the jump from high-valued startups to well-funded publicly traded companies in an attempt to “leverage investors’ optimism about the sector,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
The newspaper reports that an appetite for funding is key in the wave of public offerings.
“The rush to list reflects a shift from last year, when many of the world’s most valuable technology unicorns—private companies with valuations exceeding $1 billion—had little need or desire to tap the capital markets because they were flush with cash and had abundant private fundraising options,” according to The Journal.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.