Hackers, the good ones, have a completely different relationship to technology than we do. They’re able to use the machines that we use daily in ways that some of us can’t even imagine. They can use technology to accomplish tasks that some of us can’t even comprehend. Take the team from SparkFun Electronics, for example, they used a cheap robot to unlock a leading-brand combination safe live on stage at the annual DEF CON conference in Las Vegas.

The team of ethical hackers used the robot to open a SentrySafe live on stage in under 30 minutes. There are more than a million possible combinations for a safe of this kind so it’s impossible to try them all out manually.

The robot brings down the number of possible combinations from one million to just 1,000. It then automatically tries the combinations quickly and filters them all out until it finds the one that opens the safe.

In the live demonstration, it took the robot less than 30 minutes to find out that the combination to that particular SentrySafe was 51.36.93 and it proceeded to open the safe to rapturous applause from the audience.

The robot used by the team costs $200 and is made up of 3D printed parts that can be replaced easily to crack combination safes from different brands.

It reduces the number of possible combinations by detecting the size of indents on the dial. The indent for the correct last digits will be slightly larger than those for the incorrect digits. This enabled the team to figure out that the final number was 93.

The other two numbers can’t be measured in this manner but finding the final one significantly reduces the number of possible combinations.

“That was one of the scariest things we’ve done. Lots of things can go wrong, and this was a very big audience,” Nathan Siedle of SparkFun told the BBC.

Filed in Robots.. Source: bbc

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