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3D Printed ‘Bump’ Keys Pick Complex Locks in Seconds

Wired spoke with Jos Weyers and Christian Holler, lockpickers who “can 3D print a slice of plastic or metal that opens even [the most] high security locks in seconds, without even seeing the original key.”

Weyers and Holler are using an old concept of a ‘bump key, “which resembles a normal key but can open millions of locks with a carefully practiced rap on its head with a hammer…the technique traditionally has involved filing a key blank into a set of teeth that rest against each of the pins in a pin and tumbler lock.”

However, Weyers and Holler are using a more modern technique when it comes to ‘bump’ keys.  “Using software they created called Photobump, the two engineers say it’s now possible to easily bump open a wide range of locks using keys based on photographs of the locks’ keyholes.  Now, “all anyone needs to open many locks previously considered ‘unbumpable’ is a bit of software, a picture of the lock’s keyhole, and the keyhole’s depth.”

Weyers and Holler are not trying to make thieves’ jobs easier.  “Instead, they want to warn lockmakers about the possibility of 3D printable bump keys so they might defend against [them].”

Weyers argues, “the sky isn’t falling, but the world changes and now people can make stuff.  Lock manufacturers know how to make a lock bum-resistant.  And they had better.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Wired 

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