The Unintended Consequences of Online Key Duplication Services


Mon, Jul 28th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Wired, Andy Greenberg looks at the growth of online services that are able to duplicate a key with a few simple photographs taken from an iPhone. While the services claim to be "like a 'forgot my password' function for physical security," unfortunately they "also enable jerks like me to steal your keys any time they get a moment alone with them."

Services like KeyMe, along with competitors like KeysDuplicated and the Belgian Keysave, promise to forever solve the problem of lockouts and lost keys using clever combinations of smartphone scans, automated key-cutting machines and 3D-printing. Like a “forgot my password” function for physical security, they let you upload your coded chunks of metal to the cloud, where you can access and duplicate them, or even email them to a friend staying at your place.

Such services also enable jerks like me to steal your keys any time they get a moment alone with them. Leave your ring of cut-brass secrets unattended on your desk at work, at a bar table while you buy another round, or in a hotel room, and any stranger—or friend—can upload your keys to their online collection. The trick is far easier than having them copied at a hardware store.



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