We’ve all heard about keys getting cloned, but that usually involves the person taking your actual key, making a mould, and then recreating that key. This means that if you never let your keys out of your sight, you’re usually safe. However, it seems that might not be that way anymore.
This is because researchers over at the National University of Singapore, they have created a program that when used together with your smartphone’s microphone, could actually clone your key. How this works is that when you insert a key into a door’s lock, the smartphone’s microphone will pick up on the sound made by the door’s lock pins as the key’s ridges move over them.
These sounds are then interpreted by the app to figure out the pattern in the ridges of your key, and then produce a set of keys that are similar to the key you used. According to the researchers, “[On] average, SpiKey is able to provide 5.10 candidate keys guaranteeing inclusion of the correct victim key from a total of 330,424 keys, with 3 candidate keys being the most frequent case.”
The researchers are also looking into potentially exploiting smart doorbell systems, where instead of using your phone’s microphone, they could also use the microphones from smart doorbell systems to pickup on the sounds as well.