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Japan’s ‘Weird Hotel’ chain admits bedside robots vulnerable to peeping hackers

Japan’s ‘Weird Hotel’ chain admits bedside robots vulnerable to peeping hackers
With its robotic dinosaur desk clerks, the Henn-na Hotel chain has been among Japan’s quirkier inns. But new research has found that its room assistant could be hacked to spy on guests, putting it on a whole new level of ‘weird’.

Though the infamous chain (whose name translates to ‘Weird Hotel’) said there was “very little risk” of such an intrusion, the company was nonetheless forced to admit that the cameras and microphones equipped on its ‘Tapia’ bedside robots were vulnerable to hacks.

“In the future, we will operate with the safety and security of our customers as our top priority,” the hotel chain said in a post to its website earlier this month, fessing up to the security gap, adding that all “countermeasures against the unauthorized access method… have been completed.”

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The hotel was contacted over the summer by cyber security engineer Lance R. Vick, who discovered the vulnerability, but after nearly three months of radio silence from Henn-na, the tech expert went public.

“The bed facing Tapia robot deployed at the famous Robot Hotels in Japan can be converted to offer anyone remote camera/mic access to all future guests,” Vick said in a tweet earlier this month.

Vendor had 90 days. They didn't care.

Henn-na made headlines earlier this year with its amusing robot “layoffs,” part of an effort to hire more human workers. However, the company may now instead struggle to attract human guests, who will surely be put off by the prospect of bedside peeping-Tombots.

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