Ever since the invention of the lock, someone (somewhere) has tried to defeat it, often going to extremely creative lengths to do so. Such is the case of Ray – a security researcher and law enforcement consultant from Germany– who used a 3D printer to generate copies of handcuff keys that are normally restricted to law enforcement; the Bonowi and Chubb.
Ray demonstrated his work at HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) last weekend, by producing replicas of the keys needed to open Bonowi and Chubb handcuffs in plexiglass and ABS plastic.
The interesting thing about this research is that the hardware needed (3D printer and laser cutter) isn’t hard to come by, and despite both handcuff manufacturers controlling the distribution of their keys, Ray was able to obtain one from eBay and another from an unnamed source.
“If someone is planning a prison or court escape, he can do it without our help. We’re just making everyone aware, both the hackers and the police,” said Ray in an interview with Forbes, addressing the risk of such research heading to the public.
“People tend to forget this rule if they think the key is secret,” he added, explaining that police officers are trained to watch a suspect who is placed in handcuffs, “…and the more they believe the key is secret, the more risk there is.”
The CAD files needed to replicate the Chubb key will be released this week after the conclusion of lock picking conference. The file will be available on Thingiverse (a 3D printing Web platform).
Forbes’ Andy Greenberg has more on the story here.