Here's Why You Shouldn't Always Trust Your Hotel Room Safe

Small electronic safes are about as common in hotel rooms these days as coffee makers and hairdryers. You'll typically find them tucked in a closet, with directions on how to set a custom passcode on the keypad so that no one else will be able to access whatever stash of valuables you may want to secure in there. However, it turns out some hotel safes may be ridiculously easy for any old passerby to crack by exploiting an alarmingly simple security loophole.

In a recent video (shown above), YouTube user LockPickingLawyer films himself setting a custom passcode to lock a Saflok brand electronic safe in his hotel room, then confirms it's locked and secure by attempting an incorrect code. Then, while it's still locked, he walks through just how easy it is to break into. First, he accesses what's known as the "superuser mode" by tapping the "Lock" button twice in succession, then enters the code "999999" and voila, the safe opens. It's that simple. 

So why and how is it this easy to crack open a supposedly secure safe? Evidently, that "999999" code is actually the default factory code set by the manufacturer, Saflok, and the hotel just neglected to reset the administrator password (which is what they're supposed to do). By design, the safes can be opened using an administrator password in case a guest forgets the one they set, but a hotel should have changed it from the default. 

It's possible that many other hotels neglect to do this, too, and that a whole bunch of Saflok brand safes around the world could be cracked with just six nines. So, before you go to lock up your precious loot next time you're traveling, walk through the above steps to confirm the electronic lockbox in your room isn't vulnerable. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.