AOH :: P46-24.TXT

The ABCs of Better Hotel Staying


                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                 Volume Five, Issue Forty-Six, File 24 of 28

****************************************************************************


The ABCs of better  H O T E L   Staying ...

                                       ...  by SevenUp (sec@escape.com)

This ARTICLE will give you some information on how to experience
a cheaper, safer, and more comfortable stay at your next hotel visit.
Always keep in mind that the staff is taught to make your stay
as pleasant as possible and fulfil most of your wishes. So it is often
a matter of social engineering to reach your goal.

BUSINESS CENTRES
Many good hotels offer business centres. Some business centres just offer
"typing service" at high rates, others provide a PC you can use for free.
Usually it is a 286 or older, but it should give you the opportunity
to copy warez, write your latest article for Phrack or even connect your
pocket modem and login to the -> Internet.

CREDIT CARDS
If you have your own card and don't mind paying for the room - great!
Just use it when you check in - most places require you to have a credit
card or won't let you use the phone or won't even let you in.
You want to use someone else's card? Be careful! Don't use a stolen
card when you check in, or you won't have a safe sleep, fearing that they
could come and get you. You would be safer if you tell them upon check in
that you misplaces your card and don't need to make long distance calls,
and just want to pay with it in the end. This doesn't work always, but
sometimes. You also need a faked ID upon check in with the same name as
the cardholder.

But overall, using a faked Credit Card in a hotel is one of the easiest ways
to get busted.

DIALUPS
Many hotels have dialins for their reservation system. Novells are quite
popular. Some hotels also use PC based UNIXes (old System V's mostly)
that are often unprotected - no passwords on the root account or even
giving you a shell prompt when you call the dialup. Most of them are 7e1
at slow speeds. I won't say more about reservation systems here.

EATING & DANCING
Many hotels have good and relatively expensive restaurants and discos.
They just require you to sign the check with a room number and full name.
If you know of a guest that is checked in and has secured his account with
a credit card who just checked in, just use his name and room number -
this is probably the biggest lack of security in a hotel.

Also if you don't stay at the hotel but want to go to their disco at night,
pretend to be a guest to get in free and save cover charges. They usually
believe you.

FUCKING
You've read right, hotels are favorite places to make love. No matter
if you bring your IRC date here, pick up a hooker or stay alone and
watch the in-house porn movies. Since many hotels pride themselves in
having as much staff as guests, the question is how to get the cute
waitresses and maids into your bed. If anyone has experience making
them willing without much financial and physical effort, drop me a
mail and I will include it in the next list.

GET ALL
Some people love to take all movable parts from the room before checking
out. The question is what to take and what not.

The easiest things to take are soaps, shampoo, lotions and Kleenex from
the bathroom, since they will be replaced every morning without problems.
If you want a bathrobe (usually most expensive item), hide it in your
suitcase immediately after check in and then complain that there was just
one robe in your room. They will bring you a new one immediately. If you
take one when you leave the hotel, they will notice and most likely
charge you $100 in your credit card. If you want a bath towel, also don't
wait until the end of your stay, but hide it some days earlier. If anyone
should ask about it, just tell him that you left it at the pool.
Taking magazines from your room is usually no problem, but stay away
from removing the TV or blankets!

HYATT GOLD PASSPORT
If you want to check in at a Hyatt, get yourself their Gold Pass before.
It is free of charge and will get you free Orange Juice, Coffee and a
newspaper in the morning, and also a bigger room.

INTERNET
So you are at a hotel in a new city and want to get on the Internet?
There are usually 2 ways: Using a computer and a modem from your hotel room
and calling a dialup, or walking to a local university and logging in from
there.

If you bring your laptop with built-in modem, find the dialup in the
Internet Dialup list in this issue of Phrack, get an account on the host
and can make free local calls from your room, the first choice is probably
the best one.

But if you don't have your own account at a local school and want to
stay legit, it is often useful to walk to a computer lab in that school
and check out their computers. Many school around the world have PC's
in their labs which let you do a telnet throughout the world without
needing any account or password, or ID to enter the school. You can find
them in Hong Kong, New York, Munich and many other major cities; but usually
they are unknown to the public or are likely to be closed down (similar to the
vending machines, see -> SEVENUP).

JACKING OFF
See -> Fucking.

KEY
There are plenty of different types of room keys. Some hotels still use
old-fashioned standard keys, but most use programmable keys (plastic cards
with "holes" or magnetic stripes, or even the pretty modern metal keys
in key-shape, which allow programming of their magnetic fields. These
programmable keys will always be reprogrammed if a guest checks out.
On the other hand, if you go to the reception and claim that you lost
your key, they will always program a spare key for you. Sometimes they
ask you for your birthday, sometimes for your ID (just tell them you
left it in your room). This way you could easily get into someone else's
room.

LIGHT
Some hotels have quite fancy light systems. If the light won't shine,
there is often a box in the entrance where you have to enter your key
(or some paper) to activate the main power. This should help saving
energy while you are gone, but sometimes even the air condition will
turn off, so you have to fool the box with a paper or spare key.
Some systems will turn on certain lights just when you insert the key
into the door and open it. This is quite unfortunate if your roommate
sleeps while you go cruising and clubbing at night. When you return,
the light will shine bright and wake him up. The only thing that helps
is unscrewing the light bulbs.

MOVIES & TV
I bet many of you will first turn on the TV after entering the room.
Some people just stay at hotels that offer HBO in their rooms.
Before playing with the remote, read the papers above the TV carefully,
because some channels might show in-house movies that are being charged
automatically without any warning. Typical rates are US $6-9 per movie.
Of course you don't want to pay that much, nor do I.

Here are the 3 big S' of movie watching:
     Spectravision, Sex movies and Social Engineering.

Spectravision is one of the most popular systems. It usually allows you
to watch 5 minutes (sometimes 2) of each movie per day free, enough for
some people to come. There are usually a bunch of BNC cables from the
wall to your Spectravision box and to your TV. One of the cables delivers
the program, the other assures billing. Use your fantasy and try replacing
the "billing cable" in the wall! Generally it can also be useful to use
a standard cable decoder (cablebox) to decode the pay channels. Just bring
one along and if you are lucky, you can watch the movies easily.

If all your technical expertise fails, there is still one way of watching
movies for free: Social Engineering. Just watch the movies of your choice
and then complain to the reception that you had trouble with the TV,
that the Spectravision box or remote control broke, or that you caught
the maid watching movies in your room. If you cry a lot, they will usually
be nice and remove the movies from your bill.

PHONE CALLS
Be careful before making any phone calls from your room. Many hotels
charge you up to $3 for 800 numbers and log all your touch tones (and
calling codez!). You can't be sure who will view the logs and abuse your
calling card. Also there are often high surcharges for long distance calls,
up to 40% on top of AT&T's operator connected charges. There are also hotels
that charge a minimum charge per call (up to $5), even if you just talked
for 10 seconds long distance. On the other side, some hotels offer free local
and 800 calls. Just make sure and read all papers in the room and contact
the reception. I also had operators telling me lower rates than the ones that
showed up on my bill, so be careful.

RACK RATE
This is the highest possible rate for a room, and the rate that is officially
displayed at the reception. You should never pay that rate. If you say you
are with a company they will give you a discount of at least 10% (corporate
rate). Some hotels even give qualified people and companies discounts of
25% - 50% on the rack rate. When you wonder if you pay too much for your
room or think you got a great rate, send me a mail, because I try to keep
a database about cheapest prices for selected hotels.

SEVENUP, Coke, Pepsi & Rootbeer:
You are staying at a five-star hotel. You are thirsty. Your room has
a minibar, but the cheapest soda is $4.95. The next supermarket or gas
station is 20 miles away. But you need a Coke. What to do now?

TRY finding the gangways where the employers work, live and eat!
About every bigger hotel has a kitchen for employees. They also have
a vending machine hidden somewhere, with sodas for just 60 cents.

When strolling through the restricted area, just walk straight, slowly
and self confident. If someone asks you what you are doing, tell them:
a) you are an undercover agent for the IRS and they should get lost.
b) you are looking for the vending machine. (telling the truth openly
   with a broad smile can be more successful than you think!)
c) you are a new employee and ask her to show you around

Also notice the signs and posters in most restricted areas, telling
the personnel to be "enthusiastic, punctual, generous to the guest..."
Quote these phrases when an employer behaves nasty towards you.

UPGRADES
After first going into your room and checking it out, go back to
the reception and complain that the bed is too small, the street noise
is too loud, the view is too poor, etc. Quite often they will give you
a nicer and bigger room on their executive floor! See also -> Hyatt
Gold Passport.

VOICE MAIL
Many good hotels offer voice mail to their guests. The most popular
system is Meridian Mail. Some hotels have an own dialup for the voicemail,
but mostly the hotel just lets you access it through the main PBX operator.
If you are unlucky you have to wait 5 rings at a number before the
Voice Mail answers.

Most guests don't use Voice Mail. The few that do also keep the default
password, which is often the room number or the birthday of the guest.
One way to get the birthday is call up front desk, tell them you are
with "Mommy's Birthday Cakes Delivery" and have a cake for John Smith.
Ask them to check birthday's of all John Smith's etc. Of course there
are more ways, just use your social engineering fantasy!

WHERE TO GO?
It is pretty hard to recommend chains in general. But I had quite
good experience with Hilton, Hyatt (try getting a room on the Regency
floor), Holiday Inn (sometimes really cheap prices and good standard),
Shangri-La (best hotels in Asia) and Marriott (usually nice service).
I had less good experience with Sheraton (less discounts), Peninsula,
Regent & Four Seasons (all a bit overpriced and not so modern). But
there are always exceptions, so tell me about your experience!


I hope some of these tips might be useful for you. Stay tuned and wait
for a new issue of travel tips, next time about Airlines!


(c)opyright 1994 by the author. Publication outside of Phrack forbidden.

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