Magic Sound: Thieves Can Rob Your House Using A Smartphone
Earlier burglars broke locks in the victims’ houses with brute force, lock picks, or copies of keys, which helped to get a secret code. For now, there is no need for this.
Researchers from Singapore found out that hackers can copy your apartment’s keys without even touching them. It is enough to hear how the key enters the keyhole. However, for this, thieves will have to study programming in depth.
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What exactly is this program supposed to do?
Soundarya Ramesha, Harini Ramprasad and June Khan from the National University of Singapore conducted a study and found that hackers can learn the shape of a key from any lock just by listening to it click in the keyhole.
According to the researchers, hackers can get this sound in two ways: record it, standing next to the owner of the apartment, or hack his smartphone, smartwatch and install malicious software on them. After learning the time between audible clicks, the attacker also learns the distance between the protrusions along with the key. Then they can simulate 5-10 of the most likely keys.
Thus, a team of hackers and burglars can hack a home. One connects to the victim’s smartphone and uses special software, which is called SpiKey, selects the likely forms of the key. Simultaneously, the second prompts the type of locking mechanism and makes it easier for the first task.
However, there is a third way. Hackers can not only listen to any sound but also listen to a conversation just by looking at an ordinary light bulb in an apartment from the street. So it is complicated to protect yourself from a new method of hacking.
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Each lock when opened, emits characteristic sounds, focusing on which experienced attackers can pick up the key. Moreover, a hacker can use malicious software installed on a smartphone to listen to sounds around the user. There is no need to approach the door during opening physically — the key can be picked up remotely.
The principle of operation of the SpiKey algorithm is based on fixing the time intervals between touching the key’s surface and the pins of the lock larva. After analyzing the recorded sounds, the program generates the most appropriate key profile that can open this lock.
The application for remote lock hacking has a database of 330,424 keys’ “songs”, based on which the five most similar to the original sound of opening the lock are selected. Thieves can increase the probability of selecting the correct key profile if they know the type of lock, which can be easily determined by visual inspection of the victim’s door.
However, scientists believe that this method of hacking is not yet in demand in certain circles, since it is more complex, difficult to implement and has several solutions that will not always satisfy professional hackers.
How to protect yourself?
The authors of the study claim that it is still possible to do this — just try to insert the key into the lock always at different speeds and make noise at this moment to hide the clicks of the pins inside the lock.
There is one more way to protect yourself from such attacks. It would help if you made sure that no one is around when opening the doors.
You can also read our Fully-Fledged Guide On How To Protect Your Data Online and prevent any threat of malware being installed on your device.