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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: 5, Informative) by bradley13 on Tuesday September 02 2014, @06:35AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 02 2014, @06:35AM (#88388) Homepage Journal

    According to Wikipedia Certain clicking and vibrating tools designed for bumping can also be used. These allow for rapid repetition of bumping against locks that have advertised "bump proof" features. []

    When I visit the US, I am always surprised at the simple locks, with all the pins in a nice, neat line. This kind of lock has always been easy to pick, and today is simply trivial. Just as an example, a while back an acquaintance had her purse stolen, which included her keys. Locksmith comes out with a blank key, inserted it into the lock, wiggled it a bit, filed a bit, and within 2-3 minutes handed her a new, working key.

    There are mechanical locks that are a lot more secure. To name one example, Kaba keys are pretty much the standard house key in Switzerland: they place the pins in multiple planes on top, bottom and sides, which makes standard lock-picking techniques nearly impossible.

    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:33PM (#88554)

    Locksmiths have thousands of hours of practice. All skilled people make it look easy. What you saw was the art of impressioning. Even world class lockpickers often do not have that skill.

    To form an analogy, programming is trivial. Once I saw a programmer automate a payroll process in under ten minutes. Why do we pay people to do it if it is so easy?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02 2014, @04:35PM (#88555)

    What you are talking about is dimple locks. Kaba makes some, but not all Kaba locks are dimple locks. Standard lockpicking techniques still apply. Some choose to use different picks for convenience, but it is not strictly necessary. See the thousands of youtube videos on the subject for details.