Monday, 17 November 2014

From snapping to bumping, to kicking in, a new metal key threat emerges - 'The Cyber Locksmith'

It’s taken about 4000 years, but we've finally reached a ‘state of change’ for how we lock up things. But the change has only just begun. As we change from metal keys/mechanical locks to digital keys/smartlocks, we have to first go through ‘the discomfort stage’.

A new threat emerges - the Cyber Locksmith. Don't photograph yourself holding metal keys and post to Facebook.
Huh, what is this ‘discomfort stage’ in the ‘state of change’ I hear you ask? The best way to explain the ‘discomfort stage’ in the change process is to use the bathroom renovation analogy – it’s really simple and it goes like this - if you want to renovate your bathroom (that is rip out old bathroom and build new bathroom) it will take some time, and you’ll have to put up with some discomfort in the process such as showering at your local gym.

But with the metal key state of change, the discomfort is more like having a smelly portable toilet in the backyard (for the bathroom renovation underway), only to realize its blocked, forcing you to poo in your front yard. And if that isn't bad enough, all your neighbours are out the front watching you poo too! That is with metal keys, the discomfort is continually getting greater.

We’ve now gone from Police warning us of thieves being able to watch a two minute video to learn how to easily snap or bump a metal key lock to break into your home, to a new threat of ‘Cyber Locksmiths’.

Online companies, such as and and dozens of others like them, for less than $10, will make a copy of a house or apartment key from a smartphone photograph and deliver it to anyone's doorstep.

So now you cannot leave your metal keys lying by themselves for longer for a few seconds; or give your metal keys to your valet or mechanic; or take photographs of yourself holding metal keys after you buy a new house and post it to social media, as a thief could easily use your photograph and the Cyber Locksmith app, to get a copy of your metal key to let themselves into your house.

Last week ABC 6/FOX 28 meteorologist Andrew Michael May from Columbus Ohio got caught with his pants down (see article here). You see Andrew and his wife had had recently posted a photo on his Facebook page showing off their key to their new home they just purchased.

Andrew Michael May said in the article, "it kind of caught me off guard". Andrew's colleagues at ABC 6/FOX 28 took Andrew's new house key snapshot and emailed it to Then a few days later, the ABC/FOX folk got a copy of Andrew’s key sent to them in the mail, no questions asked. Then they sent a camera crew out to Andrew’s house and gave him a copy of the duplicate key and watched him open his front door with it.

The best advice ABC/FOX gave to avoid the new threat of the ‘house thief and his new cyber locksmith’ is to invest in locks where it is difficult to duplicate a key. Yes ABC/FOX those locks are called smartlocks with digital keys.

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