High-end locks rely on their unique key-shapes to prevent "bumping" (opening a lock by inserting a key-blank and hitting it with a hammer, causing the pins to fly up), but you can make a template for a bump key by photographing the keyhole and modelling it in software.
Jos Weyers and Christian Holler presented their work on 3D printed bump keys at NYC's Hackers on Planet Earth last month, as an existence proof of the insufficiency of relying on proprietary shapes to defend a lock. The locks they attacked were successfully opened with keys printed in nylon, of the sort you can order from service bureaux like I.Materialize and Shapeways. Weyers and Holler have produced an app called "Photobump" that turns images of keyholes into print-ready 3D bump-key shapefiles.
A photo of a keyhole alone isn’t quite enough to print one of Weyers’ or Holler’s bump keys. They also need information about the position of each pin in a target lock. But Holler says that information easily is found in widely available key-cutting software. Weyers says he can derive it even more easily by sticking any thin tool into the keyhole, feeling for the pins, and marking their depth to measure how deep in the lock’s cylinder the pins are located...
Weyers and Holler aren’t trying to teach thieves and spies a new trick for breaking into high-security facilities; instead, they want to warn lockmakers about the possibility of 3-D printable bump keys so they might 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. He’s also working with police in his native Germany to analyze whether printed bump keys leave any forensic evidence behind.
These 3-D Printed Skeleton Keys Can Pick High-Security Locks in Seconds [Andy Greenberg/Wired]
In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who’ll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you.
In 2013, Lavabit — famous for being the privacy-oriented email service chosen by Edward Snowden to make contact with journalists while he was contracting for the NSA — shut down under mysterious, abrupt circumstances, leaving 410,000 users wondering what had just happened to their email addresses.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]