Like many technological advancements in our society, the originating source is not always as pretty and pristine as some might like to fantasize. The locks being "hacked" are no different.
Prior to this news break on the hack, master pass keys have always been in posession of certain authorized members of the hotel staff. One might be less than amused to find out how little real background checking was done before one could possess one of these keys. The black market keymakers have been around since the first bone key was carved to lay hands on unwitting bounty centuries ago. Back in teh early 90s, a few of us at a DECUS convention fooled around with one of those hole punched card keys that the hotel used for the rooms. Within the week, between three rooms, made one master key that opened them all.
First not all "hackers" are some kid with a cheesy voice synthesizer conning a top secret nuclear control system (with a surprisingly similar voice syntheziser) into starting world war three. Nor do all "hackers" live on vendign machine food and sit around figuring out how to log into the bank and steal your money. Granted, there are bad guy "hackers". But, as Root pointed out, while not as glitzy as the hollywood "hackers" definition, most "hackers" are really researchers with a near insatiable desire to see what makes somthing tick. Ok on the "hacker" thing.
What needs to be recognized in these situations is the advancements in the technology that are stimulated due to hacking. Progress is made only when failure is discovered. Hackers picked password locks, and computer security becomes a billion dollar industry. Original "viruses" were written to challenge and test computer resources for benchmarking. Hackers wrote viruses that could self replicate, and the anti-malware market beceomes a billion dollar industry. The list goes on and on...
These hackers picked a lock and published the findings. The manufacturers and the hotels were publicly made aware of it. And of course, the media cannot sell the story at face value, it first must be linked to bad things because hackers are bad (mmm-kay?).
Fact is that the manufacturers now have incentive to fix their locks and make them more secure. To do less would be irresponsible. With news stories like these, hotels should have incentive to more carefully screen their employees. To do less would be irresponsible. And hopefully, people will have more incentive to dig into a news story and learn more about the story behind the story. To do less would be uninteresting.