Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Slightly worrying news: burglars can 3D print your house keys

keyinlock1.jpg

As much as we'd all like to imagine we're living in an 18th Century utopia where everyone knows everyone in their village, people look out for each other, and no one locks their doors at night, the reality - unless you believe people who live in Yorkshire - is really quite different.

Criminals lurk at every corner, and they're going to break it and steal your possessions unless you invest in some decent home security. Sadly, though, it seems the irrepressible march of technology has rendered the first line of defence - the humble lock and key - obsolete. Which is something of a problem.

The KeysForge system claims that, even if only given a basic smartphone resolution image, it can determine the structure of the lock and create a CAD file to be 3D printed. 

University of Colorado infosec assistant professor Eric Wustrow and two colleagues revealed their work at the Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg last month, saying: "We made an automatically generating 3D model program [which] takes a single picture of the keyway (lock) and produces a model in CAS (computer assisted design). You can then take that model and print it on a 3D printer or ship it off to Shapeways or whatever. The application will attempt to wrangle the image into black and white to distinguish the keyway. It then continues thresholding looking for the largest black blob. We found this was surprisingly effective".

So, essentially, a no-gooder can simply walk up to your front door, take a pic, print a key out, and then pop back when you're out and steal your goldfish.

They don't even need to get too close. The Register writes that "the application is useful in sophisticated and targeted attacks using high resolution lenses that were previously shown to be sufficient to allow keys to be replicated using photographs shot at significant distances."

So that's comforting. Best just sleep with that cricket bat nearby just in case.

(Image: Shutterstock)

Related

trump.jpg

Even Apple fans should be seriously worried about Donald Trump

plane1.jpg

This is an ingenious solution to surviving a plane crash

2.jpg

Revealed: the 15 most edited articles from Wikipedia’s first 15 years

More

How famous websites looked when they first went online vs. now

Amazon has come a long, long way...

by Gary Ogden
18 Aug 2017

How one button on your keyboard can save you from email hell

Save yourself from email hell

by Alex Finnis
18 Aug 2017

A real-life Mario Kart track is coming and yes, it looks amazing

It's BYOB (bring your own bananas)

by Tom Victor
17 Aug 2017

Everyone is obsessed with these £6 earphones - here's why

They have over 25,000 5-star ratings on Amazon

by Gary Ogden
15 Aug 2017

An ode to MSN Messenger: The best instant messaging app of all time

Nothing can ever come close

by Gary Ogden
11 Aug 2017

This simple hack will make music sound louder on your iPhone

Turn that thing up to 11

by Emily Reynolds
10 Aug 2017

These 2004 Apple 'rules for success' show why the company is so huge

"Have fun, otherwise it’s not worth it"

by Tom Victor
10 Aug 2017

Facebook has launched a new feature to kill off TV and Netflix

It's trying to take over your life even more

by Dave Fawbert
10 Aug 2017

Tinder is trying to cut out one of its users' most annoying habits

It's about time

by Gary Ogden
04 Aug 2017

Facebook AI bots develop own language, start planning to murder us

Oh good. Good. This is good

by Gary Ogden
01 Aug 2017