There is only a small percentage of humankind that like to break the rules, besides breaking the law is hard work.  Take breaking-and-entering for example, this endeavor is far too difficult to undertake for mere non criminal types, however, three enterprising young MIT students have figured out a way to make that particular job easier, thanks to a 3D printing workaround to the sticky issue of making some duplicates of so-called “non-duplicatable” keys.

3d keys

Apparently all you need is a flatbed scanner, an original Primus lock key made by Schlage, or even just a picture of one, and some lines of code.  The students revealed this information at last weekends DevCon hacking conference.

These entrepreneurial students in question are Eric Van Albert, David Lawrence and Robert Johnson and they are not actual evil criminal masterminds! They are just intent on demonstrating the fact that reliance on older tech like so-called high security keys may be in need of an update, given the recent advances in technology such as, the advent of affordable, easy-to-access 3D printers and their tools.  These young men did not just manage to replicate the keys in software models either, they actually submitted their designs to 3D printing services including i.Materiealise and Shapeways and they were mailed fully working copies made of different materials including titanium!  With file sharing sites like The Pirate Bay now supporting 3D models, you could easily imagine a scenario where somebody uploads a key of their hated neighbor’s front door and points the mischief-loving crowd there for some fun. That sharing aspect of this is what makes this a little more threatening than finding someone you know with not so strong ethics and a hardware store who can make you a copy yourself.

3D printing is bound to result in some upheaval and many new concerns not only for manufacturers of cheap, easily replicated goods, but also for security professionals and lawmakers worldwide, especially those with big money and talent like the new Stratasys/MakerBot 3D-printing giant trying to democratize the whole process.

For now though, most people’s banks, businesses and hospitals are probably safe from this kind of attack, especially if 3D printing services are on the lookout for this kind of thing, as the vast majority of people don’t have at-home 3D printers yet.

[Image via businessinsider]