A service that turns pictures of keys into working keys


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/15/photon-based-attacks.html


Call me paranoid, but…


What could possibly go wrong?


Yep. There’s no way this service will be misused by crazy stalkers etc…


Yeah really, how hard is it to stop by the hardware store. Plus it’s the HARDWARE STORE that place is stuffed with cool things!


Slightly less consumer-ready; but reproduction of keys photographed at considerable range has been demonstrated.

I’m assuming that suitably spooky machine vision tricks would allow one to automatically pick keys out of a video stream of a parking lot or other location where people pull keyrings out frequently and reconstruct them at a pretty fair clip(even better, if it’s an area that gets a lot of repeat traffic, office or apartment building say, you could use facial recognition and license plates to correlate a set of keys with a specific person, retry keys that weren’t registered clearly enough for imaging on prior days, etc.)

The only novel problem here is that it makes the process fairly quick and idiot proof for all the people in your life who can get 10 seconds alone with your keys; but who you wouldn’t give a copy to.


If no one is using it, the system is rather secure!


Someone who would have found that handy.


Note to self: do not let crazy stalkers photograph my keys.


The trouble with (most) hardware store key duplication is that it produces an analog copy(cool little mechanism where the probe travelling across your key’s surface controls the height of the cutting blade over the blank). If the operator is sloppy; or the original was already worn enough to be a little dodgy, or both, generational losses can lead to some pretty awful copies.

If you instead determine the bitting codes from the original; then cut the blank based on those; the copy will be absolutely pristine(indeed, probably in better shape than the original). If the original is so far gone that you can’t determine the correct bitting code, you obviously have a problem; but you also have a seriously damaged key.


What hardware store? Yes, I grew up in the 1970s when there were hardware stores in every neighborhood, but I have no idea where the nearest hardware store is to me – and I live in an urban environment! They’ve been pushed aside for upscale bistros, bars, and boutiques.


Begorrah! What mass affluent hellscape do live in?!


Surprised his successor didn’t come with the innate ability to do so.


Isn’t it basically a 3 dimensional pantograph machine?


Territorial people are probably shitting themselves over this. Keys are the ultimate in presumed security through obscurity, and treated as both sacrosanct and weird status indicators. I have witnessed quite a few pompous key-janglers in urban environments have their cool façade break into sputtering rage with my level reminder that “nobody cares about your silly little metal sticks”.

At least it’s a little more dignified than smearing things with one’s dung!


Most walmarts here have an automatic key duplicating vending machine in the entry way.

But I can see this app being useful if you keep a online ‘vault’ of the pics of your keys in your gmail


And meanwhile somewhere the young man Donnie Trump sat staring at this toy thinking to himself, “That is an awfully big finger.”


I once took a photo of a key and made a duplicate from the photo using a blank key, a file and a lot of sleuthing on the internet. It wasn’t perfect and needed tweaking, but it worked. And yes, I only used the key for good and honorable intentions - I just wanted to see if it was possible.

So yeah, don’t leave your keys lying around. Especially Kwikset keys, which are probably what you use to open your front door. Those little hills and valleys are nothing but a numerical code. Might as well leave the passcode to your phone laying around as well.


Then you disassemble the core, measure the pins, and whammo there’s your bitting. You can also do this when you have a master/submaster system to determine the master keying for a whole building. Damned useful. Don’t ask me how I know… :wink:


We got one of those key pad deadbolts for our front door about a year ago. So worth it. I’m really not that concerned about someone getting a photo of my key, but if one were, that’s an option. And you can change the code or make ones for family/friends/housekeeper that can be changed or erased at will.
Just the part about being able to run out the door for a dog walk WITHOUT a key ring made it worth it.