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posted by azrael on Tuesday September 02 2014, @01:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the opening-pandora's-box dept.

One of the unintended consequences of cheap 3-D printing is that any troublemaker can duplicate a key without setting foot in a hardware store. Now Andy Greenberg reports that clever lockpickers are taking that DIY key-making trick a step further printing a "bump key" that opens even high-security locks in seconds, without seeing the original key.

A bump key resembles a normal key but can open millions of locks with a carefully practiced rap on its head with a hammer. Using software they created called Photobump, Jos Weyers and Christian Holler say it's now possible to easily bump open a wide range of locks using keys based on photographs of the locks' keyholes. As a result, all anyone needs to open many locks previously considered "unbumpable" is a bit of software, a picture of the lock's keyhole, and the keyhole's depth. "You don’t need much more to make a bump key," says Weyers. "Basically, if I can see your keyhole, there’s an app for that."

Weyers and Holler want to warn lockmakers about the possibility of 3-D printable bump keys so they can defend against it. Although Holler will discuss the technique at the Lockcon lockpicking conference in Sneek, the Netherlands, next month, he doesn't plan to release the Photobump software publicly and is working with police in his native Germany to analyze whether printed bump keys leave any forensic evidence behind.

Ikon maker Assa Abloy argues 3-D printing bump keys to its locks is an expensive, unreliable trick that doesn’t work on some locks whose keys have hidden or moving parts but Weyers argues that instead of dismissing 3-D printing or trying to keep their key profiles secret, lockmakers should produce more bump resistant locks with electronic elements or unprintable parts.

"The sky isn't falling, but the world changes and now people can make stuff," says Weyers. "Lock manufacturers know how to make a lock bump-resistant. And they had better."

 
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday September 02 2014, @02:01AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 02 2014, @02:01AM (#88322) Journal

    Right, this whole 3D printing business is becoming like "do any common thing with a computer and suddenly its novel and new and (usually) scary.

    Go look at any hardware store and you will find the shelves are full of new locks (not even the high-security models) that advertise Non-Bump-able.

    There are a bazillion locks installed that are bumpable, but locks tend to get replaced when people move out or in. The problem is that large apartment buildings don't want to replace all their locks, they just want to re-key them. Non-bump usually involves replacing the cylinder, rather than simply rekeying (changing the pins). Almost any lock smith can replace a bumpable cylinder with a non-bump one for a few bucks. But chances are your building super won't want to foot that bill.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:07PM (#88545)

    Go look at any hardware store and you will find the shelves are full of new locks (not even the high-security models) that advertise Non-Bump-able.

    RTFA! This is about making working bump keys for said "Non-Bump-able" locks.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday September 04 2014, @05:56AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 04 2014, @05:56AM (#89216) Journal

      Nope. There isn't a hint of a suggestion of that capability in the article or the linked sites.

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