Mark Bridge writes:
I loved the film WarGames. I saw it in the cinema when it came out… and developed a minor crush on Ally Sheedy as a result. If you don’t remember the film – or haven’t seen it – the plot centres on a young computer hacker who almost starts World War III while playing an illicit online game of Global Thermonuclear War with a military computer. (Plot spoiler: the only winning move is not to play).
There’s a scene in the film where the hacker – played by Matthew Broderick – is arrested by the FBI and locked in a medical room that has a keypad entry lock. Our hero uses a microcassette recorder to escape by apparently recording and playing back the tones.
Fast-forward to 2010 and fictional hacker David Lightman would be in his element if he visited the Holiday Inn. They’ve just introduced OpenWays Crypto Accoustic Credentials access system in a number of their hotels. Guests can choose to receive an audio code on their mobile phone. To unlock their hotel room, they simply play the tune from their phone.
Now, this clearly isn’t as low-tech as it sounds. (Pun noted but unintended). Guests need to download an application to their phone and the tune changes each time it’s used. Also, much like an electronic ‘card key’, any lost phone can be blocked instantly by the reception desk.
So it’s clever… but will guests realise how clever it is? Or will the corridors of Holiday Inn Chicago be full of people whistling hopefully at the doors?