Lock picking just became a whole lot easier. Engineers can use 3D printing key technology to produce ‘bump’ keys capable of opening millions of locks.
Their software requires only a picture of the lock in question, and couple of pieces of readily available information such as lock’s depth, to design a key that can pick even the most sophisticated of security locks.
“You don’t need much more to make a bump key,” security consultant's announced as the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York City last month. Basically, if I can see your keyhole, there’s an app for that.
The technique of bumping has been practiced since at least the 1920’s and involves inserting a key into a standard lock and using a hammer to then knock the lock’s pins into place. With 3D printing key technology, the game has changed, and now even carefully designed high-security locks can be compromised.
Should aspiring lock pickers have neither a 3D printer or the know-how, they can theoretically order their bump key from 3D printing key services.
Assa Abloy told Wired that 3D printing key technology is very expensive. It's also an unreliable trick that doesn't work on some locks whose keys have hidden or moving parts.
Weyers and Holler claim that they're not trying to teach thieves how to break into properties, but rather warn lock makers that traditional lock security is no longer secure. The complex key profiles upon which locksmiths have long relied is a false sense of security, according to Holler. If a protected profile is your only protection, you should be aware that’s no longer enough.
Weyers said that lock makers should be producing more modern locks, with electronic or unprintable parts: “The sky isn't falling, but the world changes and now people can make stuff. Lock manufacturers know how to make a lock bump-resistant. And they had better.”
They have no plans to publicly release the Photo Bump software.