General, Research, Technology

Don't post it on Instagram: thieves have learned to print a key from a photo on a 3D printer

Have seen movies in which the spy first doesa photo of the key he needs, and then comes back again with a duplicate that appeared from an unknown source? Usually this is the plot of films for a robbery: a potential thief does not want to steal the key so as not to expose himself, quickly photographs it in order to make a duplicate key from a photo and then return in order to accomplish our plans.It would seem that this is something from the level of "hacking a power plant and leaving the whole city without electricity." But experts are now warning that criminals could indeed use 3D printing technology to break into your home or open a safe. All they need for this is a photo of the house keys.

Even with such a photo, you can make a copy of the key on a 3D printer.

As stated in the message of the company, which deals with the security of premises in the UK, a photo of your set of keys is all a hacker needs to create working duplicates, which he can later use to enter the premises. Experts warn that just one seemingly harmless thing, such as a photo of a key on Facebook, can help an experienced hacker print a copy of this key using 3D Printer... And such a key will work.

Can the key be 3D printed?

Hackers can use a method known as"Teleduplication", which involves using a camera with a long lens to photograph a set of keys. Since digital cameras have high resolution, a usable image can be easily obtained from a distance.

Modern 3D printing technology from metal or polycarbonate allows you to create a duplicate key that will strong enoughso as not to break in a modern castle.

Regular key and its copy, printed on a 3D printer

According to company spokesman Mark Hall, this is the modern equivalent of a clay mold of the key to your front door.

Only instead of working with clay and basic knowledge of metal casting, a thief now needs a good camera, special software and a 3D printer.

Ready-made key samples are already sold on the Internet,for example, from popular suitcases - these are usually used by the airport security service if they need to open suspicious cargo. This means that travelers are already at risk of being attacked by "print thieves" at airports and train stations. Anyone with the right skills and equipment can get such a key and then walk through the waiting rooms and open suitcases.

However, 3D printing also has many useful uses - for example, it helps to heal serious bone injuries.

How to protect yourself from thieves?

You can print any variation of the keys and not only

Despite such a major leap in technologyhacking, such risks can be protected with simple security measures. Experts advise users and organizations to take the same rigorous approach to securing their keys as they do to computer passwords, which protect them from hackers. In simple words, it is better not to put your keys on public display and provide for a more complex system of locking the locks that cannot be broken with one key. Got the keys to your new apartment? Do not rush to post them on Instagram, VKontakte or drop them into our Telegram chat.

Experts advise having more than one castle on doors and install modern alarm systems to improve security.

Companies should also use CCTV systems to guard entrances and vulnerabilities, and deploy security guards if budget allows.

Returning to the parallel with computerpasswords, the meaning is the same here. You are using two-factor authentication to prevent an attacker from logging into your social network or other account after learning only one password? So he will be stopped by an additional security measure: a code from an SMS, a call, another password, security questions, and so on. In the case of locks, the situation is the same. It is better to install more than one lock, as well as install hidden internal elements that cannot be accessed from the outside. So you can sleep peacefully and not be afraid that someone will receive the key to the house or apartment and climb there at night.

Even very small changes in your attitude towards security can significantly reduce your risks.

Obviously, the development of technology gives manyadvantages, but it also has several disadvantages, including security threats. As we have seen, the threat is real, and although it is not a fact that someone will make the key to your apartment, it is better to know about the problem in advance. In theory, thieves could print keys to a car, garage, or other places in the same way. Alternatively, you can use an electronic access system, but here you will already face the threat not of ordinary burglars with 3D printers, but hackers. Not to mention the fact that it is often enough just to turn off the power in the room to deactivate such locks.