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article imageComputer Software Clones Front Door Keys From Tiniest of Images

By Michelle Duffy     Nov 4, 2008 in Technology
Perhaps if we cast a steely gaze away from the American polls for just a short while, the criminals of the computer could be making their way through your front door with, thanks to software - their very own key
It's as simple as taking a picture with a standard mobile phone and then sending it to another computer that has installed, the software for cloning keys, and in particular, front door keys. A sobering thought in the hazy light of the American Presidential election. Whilst busy at the polls voting and discussing who we want and who we don't want as the most powerful man in the world, someone with your front door key could be walking up your front path right now.
So, if that doesn't worry enough, experts have said that these photographs taken on mobile phones don't have to be of any really good quality, in fact, they could have even been taken from hundreds of feet away, so that they appear to be a dot in the distance! Software has become so advanced that burglars are now entering an era where smashing the back window or shimmying up the nearest drainpipe is fast becoming a thing of the past.
This new intrusive software uses a digital imaging programme simply makes an accurate copy of the contours of the key in the photograph. Somehow, the imaging process will match the contours of the key, no matter if the picture was taken at an angle.
Yet have no fear - this software is safely in the hands of researchers at a university. The software has been created by scientists who have taken an oath and sworn that they will not release any information, yet don't breathe out just yet - they also say that it is not difficult for computer criminals to devise a similar software of their own.
We can be perhaps, a little too care free with our keys and wise advise has to be taken from this new research, which tells us that we should hang on and keep safe our keys in the same way we look after our credit cards.
Speaking for the team, Stefan Savage, the University of California, warns people to keep their keys in their pockets unless they are about to be used to open the front door. Surprisingly enough, those of us who use sites like Face Book and YouTube should also be aware of posting pictures where their keys may be visible.
Mr Savage said,
"If you go onto a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, you will find many photos of people's keys that can be used to easily make duplicates. While people generally blur out the numbers on their credit cards and driver's licenses before putting those photos on-line, they don't realise that they should take the same precautions with their keys."
All computer criminals will need are some expert locksmiths to make the keys and they are in their plentiful as it is.
Perhaps if this wasn't so bad, in a recent demonstration, a key was cut to a perfect match after a mobile phone image was taken of a key on a table in a cafe, 200 feet away from the roof of a building.
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