Lock picking child’s play at major US computer hackers conference

LAS VEGAS, Aug 7, 2006 (AFP) – Locks commonly used at homes and businesses worldwide were so easy to pick that children could do it, computer hackers practicing the skill were shown on Sunday. In a Las Vegas casino meeting room devoted to the art of lock picking for the course of a three-day DefCon hackers conference, Marc Tobias and Matt Fiddler demonstrated that all it took to open a lock was a tap and a twist.

Emphatic proof arrived in the form of an 11-year-old girl, who deftly opened typical door locks under the watchful eyes of her mother within minutes of being given a “bump key” and a brief lesson in how to use it.

“That was absolutely my coup,” said Tobias, a lawyer and a security consultant that authored Locks, Safes and Security. “I’m putting her picture on my website, along with a video of her doing it.”

The type of bump key used by the girl was developed in Denmark long ago and basically was an easily modified key blank, Tobias explained.

Putting bump keys in typical pin tumbler locks and giving them a whack sent shock waves that jarred pins into position for opening, Tobias showed AFP.

“My old friend Isaac Newton 350 years ago figured out bumping,” Tobias said