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

Comments

More

Crash Bandicoot: the greatest game I ever played

As its PS4 return is announced, one writer salutes one of the best platformers of them all

by Ryan Young
17 Feb 2017

TFL has been tracking you on the tube and the data is fascinating

Catnip for the tube heads

by Dave Fawbert
15 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Things no one wants to hear on social media

We need to establish some house rules

by David Cornish
10 Feb 2017

Finding those hidden Netflix codes just became much easier

This could be a game-changer

08 Feb 2017

This artist turned the Apple T&Cs into a really cool graphic novel

We've never wanted to read a contract more!

by Sam Diss
07 Feb 2017

Francis Ford Coppola wants you to crowdfund an Apocalypse Now game

And it looks like it could be very disturbing indeed

by Jamie Carson
26 Jan 2017

Rogue One in 8-Bit is the Star Wars video game we all need

On the way to destroy the Death Star, Super Nintendo style

by Jamie Carson
26 Jan 2017