Sidebar: Testing the Card Keys

Computerworld and MagTek tested 100 card keys gathered in the fall from the hotel and resort operations listed below. Each card was scanned using a MagTek swipe-card reader that has a USB interface and complies with a standard set by the International Standards Organization and the American Bankers Association. Cards were also inspected using specialized equipment at MagTek to see if data embedded using nonstandard formatting techniques could be read.

Because many properties are independently owned, we tested cards from properties in the same hotel chain in different locations.

Readable alphanumeric data was scanned from 15% of the cards using the ISO-standard reader. Most results were unintelligible strings of numeric or alphanumeric characters. In cases where numeric strings could possibly have contained credit card numbers, the data was returned to the owner of the card for inspection. One reporter found a match to the last four digits of the credit card used to pay for the room on the key card. No other meaningful data was found.

• Bellagio

• Best Western

• Caesar's Palace

• Clarion Hotel

• Comfort Inn

• Coronado Springs Hotel (Disney)

• Courtyard Marriott

• Crowne Plaza

• DoubleTree

• Econo Lodge

• Embassy Suites

• Fairmont Hotel

• FourPoints (Sheraton)

• Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

• Hilton

• Hilton Doubletree

• Hilton New York

• Hilton, La Fontana

• Holiday Inn

• Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza

• Holiday Inn on King

• Holiday Inn SunSpree Resorts

• Homewood Suites Hilton

• Hotel Omni

• Hyatt Regency

• Hyatt Regency Apa Aviana

• Hyatt Rosemont

• J.W. Marriott Grand Lakes Resort

• Kimpton (Hotel Monaco)

• La Quinta Inn Queens

• Mandalay Bay

• Marriott Hotels

• MGM Grand

• Mirage

• Monte Carlo Resort & Casino

• Motel 6

• OpryLand Hotel and Convention Center

• Park Lane Hotel

• Pilgrim Inn

• Red Roof Inn

• Residential Suites at Ritz-Carlton Towers

• Ritz-Carlton

• Royal Hawaiian

• Sheraton

• St. Regis

• The Inn at Penn (Hilton)

• The Latham Hotel

• The Venetian

• Travel Lodge

• Walt Disney World Port Orleans

• Westin

• Westin St. Francis

• Wyndham Hotel

• Xanterra Parks & Resorts

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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