Security researchers demonstrate inexpensive one-minute method to clone master hotel key cards

Finnish security researchers Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen can clone many master hotel keys very quickly using their clever cryptography, an expired keycard from the hotel trash, and a $300 Proxmark RFID card reading and writing device. It takes them about one minute to create a master hotel key. Video demo below. From Wired:

The two researchers say that their attack works only on Vingcard's previous-generation Vision locks, not the company's newer Visionline product. But they estimate that it nonetheless affects 140,000 hotels in more than 160 countries around the world; the researchers say that Vingcard's Swedish parent company, Assa Abloy, admitted to them that the problem affects millions of locks in total. When WIRED reached out to Assa Abloy, however, the company put the total number of vulnerable locks somewhat lower, between 500,000 and a million. They note, though, that the total number is tough to measure, since they can't closely track how many of the older locks have been replaced. Tuominen and Hirvonen say that they've collected more than a thousand hotel keycards from their friends over the last 10 years, and found that roughly 30 percent were Vingcard Vision locks that would have been vulnerable to their attack.

Tuominen and Hirvonen quietly alerted Assa Abloy to their findings a year ago, and the company responded in February with a software security update that has since been available on its website. But since Vingcard's locks don't have internet connections, that software has to be installed manually by a technician, lock by lock.

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A service that turns pictures of keys into working keys

Snap a picture of a key and Key Me will turn it into a working metal key: just a reminder that locks probably aren't as secure you imagine. (via Schneier) Read the rest

Cool designer key blanks

My house key is shaped like a revolver and I am a fan of oddly-shaped keys in general. So, when I saw these cool key blanks by NYC jewelry brand Erica Weiner pop up in my Instagram feed, I stopped in my tracks.

All three --the "Up Yours," the "Good Night," and the "All-Seeing Eye"-- are compatible with kwikset (KW1) locks. To have them cut to fit your door, you just bring them to your local locksmith or hardware store.

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HOWTO make a "Swiss Army knife" key ring

I have an annoyingly bulky key ring. I frequently clip it to my belt like a janitor, but this DIY "Swiss Army Key Ring" seems like a nice alternative. However, it does mean giving up car remote fobs. Swiss Army Key Ring (Instructables) Read the rest

Tower of London keys swiped

Locks had to be changed at London's 930-year old fortress—and home of the crown jewels—after a man was found trespassing within the walls, keys in hand. [Reuters] Read the rest