WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Computer hackers figured out how to defeat those Transportation Security Administration approved luggage locks by using images of the agency’s master key that were posted online.
It happened after The Washington Post published an article about the “secret life” of luggage.
It posted, then quickly deleted, a close-up image of the master key used by TSA agents to open officially approved locks.
But the paper didn’t delete the photo quickly enough. A 3-D printer owner used the pictures to create a perfect duplicate of the key, and uploaded the file to a popular file sharing site for 3-D printing enthusiasts.
“Honestly I wasn’t expecting this to work, even though I tried to be as accurate as possible from the pictures. I did this for fun and don’t even have a TSA-approved lock to test,” Xylitol, the person who published the files, told WIRED.
Another user downloaded the file and printed a copy in about five minutes, and said it worked on the first try.
Xylitol would not give his real name, but said he is based in France.
“[I]f someone reported it that my 3-D models are working, well, that’s cool, and it shows how a simple picture of a set of keys can compromise a whole system.”