Under Lock and Key

I just learned there is an app called KeyMe that can make copies of keys using a photograph. The blogger who wrote this article took a photograph of his neighbor’s key in their apartment complex stairwell, had a copy made via the handy dandy KeyMe app, and then later broke into said neighbor’s apartment in a “hey, let’s prove how easy this is” maneuver with the self-made key. Luckily the neighbor was a friend or at least must be, given the blogger wasn’t arrested or shot. And I’m assuming they still are friends after this little exercise in security…or lack thereof.

I must give my heartfelt thanks to Andy Greenberg for bringing this out in the open. I only wish this issue was getting more notice than it is. Although maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who has had blinders on. I won’t go into all the details of what the hell would possess a company to create an app like this…Mr. Greenberg does that quite well in his own writing.

What I will bring up, because it’s not mentioned anywhere in the article, is the very important fact that not only is this scary to everyone with regards to being robbed, but for women, it’s frightening on a whole other level in that we now have to worry about keeping our keys under lock and key so as to prevent some creeper who may be suffering a hurt ego, after having his advances rejected, from coming back to our house at a later date and exacting his revenge.

Although credit cards, names, and the like are clearly exchanged in order to get the key made, as mentioned in the article, who would even begin to think that an app like this even exists to KNOW to check with them to find out if that’s how the perpetrator gained access??  I mean, really!? Were any of you aware of such a horribly thought out app?  Or was I the only one in the dark here?

27 thoughts on “Under Lock and Key

  1. I wasn’t aware of this at all! This is only one of several abuses of the 3D printing technology. What’s also scary is that people could theoretically upload the keys to the Internet of Things database…..

  2. Had no idea of such an app but not surprised someone jumped on the ability to replicate anything with three D copy machines. Thanks for sharing the unpleasant news. And yes it’s one more proof that women are, as ever, at risk as targets for male frustration.

  3. As you have said Wendy, it’s unbelievable that anyone could have made this app in the first place, and how on earth has it been allowed to be sold. It’s not just women who need worry, I would imagine it would make old people very venerable too! I’m all for new technologies, but there definitely needs to be some body or organisation ‘policing; all these new things!! Like Chela says in the comment above, the advent of 3D printers is a frightening proposition in itself for misuse, without apps like the one you describe being allowed too! 😦

  4. sounds convenient to me. I can take a pic of my own key and have copies made and not have to leave my house? how on earth would a stranger get a pic of my key? I don’t know the last time I even saw a friends keys let alone held them and could take pics.

    • While it is indeed a convenience for someone of integrity, I’d say it’s also of great convenience to those of less than a scrupulous frame of mind.

      I can imagine any number of scenarios where a person could get a look at someone else’s keys. You could leave them on a table while going to the bathroom for example, or while you’re stepping out of the room to get your coat, or the person could simply snag them without the owner even being aware and then quickly putting them back…especially if it’s a workplace scenario.

      However, as Mr. Greenberg pointed out in his well-researched article, it doesn’t take long at all for someone with the right app to procure a duplicate key to someone else’s place. From the article: “If you lose sight of your keys for the better part of 20 seconds, you should consider them lost,” says Jos Weyers, a Dutch lockpicking guru and security consultant. “If you find them later, consider them a souvenir.” One group of researchers created a project called Sneakey in 2009 that showed they could reproduce keys photographed from nearly 200 feet away and at an angle. In other words, simply leaving your keys hanging from your belt presents a security problem, not to mention letting someone get ahold of them.

      It’s very possible the KeyMe app works on the very same “distance and angle makes no difference” principle (since Mr. Greenberg apparently wasn’t very meticulous in his own photographic skills for his experiment, according to his own estimation) or if it doesn’t, it soon will, thanks to the ever onward march of progress.

      At any rate, simply sending in a photograph of a key without the need to provide any proof whatsoever that it’s your key and being duly supplied with a duplicate, to me, seems fraught with security risks.

  5. Reblogged this on Rethinking Life and commented:
    There is an app that can copy your keys from a photograph. Please read this post so that you have one more thing on your list to WATCH OUT FOR. It’s really important. Women be aware of this new danger.

  6. People always find ways to use any new technology for crime, porn, or both. The good guys are always being reactive, not proactive, since you can’t possibly imagine every conceivable use of everything.

    This us why God invented baseball bats.

  7. Wow this is bad. And apart from anything else, you may find that your house has been robbed and the insurance company won’t pay up cause the criminal had a key.

    Not to mention people who have stalkers, rapists, makes my skin crawl

  8. I am appalled but not surprised about the key. I hope nothing bad ever happens to any of my blogging friends, Wendy. I had my purse stolen at the library but the surveillance tape and arrest never brought back my extra pair of contact lenses, my cell phone, transition glasses or gift cards. Yes, it was Mothers Day weekend and I was blogging at library. He leaned down in his chair (slouching), used his long legs to take my purse sitting by my feet, put it in his backpack and left. He pleaded guilty but no money repaying me for all the hassle, driver’s license and replacing the eye care products. I had gift cards to go to 3 different restaurants. 😦 He is allowed to go to public library yet I never got to see his face. Someone said he sits near me when I go in but library staff isn’t allowed to tell me what he looks like! Privacy rights of the criminal.

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