MIT Students Produce 3D High Security Key

This weekend Def Con held its annual hackers conference where some of the most interesting, and borderline illegal processes are on showcase from some of the brightest minds in the world. Two MIT students David Lawrence and Eric Van Albert, displayed their ability to make high security keys through 3D printouts. This is obviously huge news, that someone is able to duplicate high security keys from the ease of their home. It is not much different than the 3D printed gun which had made news headlines in the United States recently. This type of technology is very hard to prevent and can easily be accessed by a lot of people.

The two MIT students actually released the code that individuals can use to cut the high security keys themselves. The specific high security keys that they were able to construct a code for is the Schlage Primus key, Primus key have two toothed edges as oppose to a standard one toothed edge key. Schlage Primus keys a are very popular for high security situations and are used in corrections facilities, government building as well as hospitals. Obviously when any individual has the freedom to enter these area unrestricted there can be a grave threat to security.

There is one aspect of 3D printing which can deter criminals is that printing a high security key through a 3D printer is very expensive. While on a key-per-key basis the cost is not that great to the individual trying to create a key, the 3D printer itself as well as additional equipment needed can cost thousands of dollars. This will certainly deter many lower level criminals who do not have the financial means to acquire all of the proper equipment. The two MIT students did not go this route in printing their keys. Eric and David instead scanned the key into the computer using a specific sequence in order to get the proper dimensions of the key and then set for a 3rd party printing source to duplicate the key.

This method of illegal duplicating a high security key should actually be more difficult than purchasing a 3D printer itself. Most of these high security locks have a “Do Not Duplicate” marking on the key. This will prevent most professionals from completing the replacement or duplication of that key. It seems that there would need to be great pressure placed on 3rd party 3D printing services which would allow for the duplication of such a key.

For now, this security breach should not be an immense concern for owners of the Schlage Primus keys, but it would be very wise to monitor the situation further to see if criminals begin to use printing 3D high security keys as a trend.



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