August 1, 2014
A few weekends ago I received a call from my roommate; she had locked herself out of the house while leaving in a hurry. When you leave without your keys in Memphis, TN you don’t get very far without your car. I wasn’t too far across town so I made a detour and rescued her. It happens. We are all forgetful at times, some of us more often than others, but we all have our days.
We lock and bolt most aspects of our lives. Our houses, cars, bikes, computers, bank accounts, most everything has some type of lock and key whether it be a physical lock or electronic code. We lock everything because we cannot trust the actions of the other members of this human race. The invention of lock and key has been a great help in setting boundaries and averting theft. However the craftiest of thieves do not rest until they have found a way into forbidden barriers.
An article on Wired.com recently reported that a new smartphone application makes locked areas easier to access. Writer Andy Greenberg tested the app and proved that he could break into his neighbor’s apartment without much effort. The good news is his motives were not malicious but merely for testing purposes. He told his neighbor he was going to conduct this test but did not explain how or when he would complete the act. The only element Greenberg needed to ensure his plan would succeed was to gain access to his neighbor’s apartment key for a few moments. One day Greenberg called his neighbor to let him into their building because he had “conveniently” forgotten his key. The neighbor simply tossed down his keys instead of walking down to open the door. It was during this time that Greenberg quickly snapped pictures of the neighbor’s keys with his smartphone in the stairwell; these pictures would later be the “key” he needed to complete his plan.
The application used was called Key Me. This app, along with other apps like it, were created with the intent of making life easier by allowing key duplicates to be made from the pictures taken within the app. Greenberg noticed that this application was intended for good but it could very easily be used for sabotage. The pictures were uploaded onto the company’s server and sent to a nearby key cutting kiosk. Once the key was in hand it was no challenge to turn the lock and enter his neighbor’s apartment, as promised.
Now that I know such an application exists I will probably be more careful with where I leave my keys, especially at public events. One good aspect about these apps a record is created when a key is cut and it can be traced back if fraud is suspected.