Researcher unlocks high security handcuffs with homemade key

Added by on July 16, 2012

A German researcher, simply known as Ray, demonstrated manufacturing keys and using them to open handcuffs manufactured by Bonowi and Chubb. Both manufactures are reputed to make high-security handcuffs.

Ray said police are trained to constantly be watchful of a handcuffed person to reduce the possibility of escape. Ray continued, “People tend to forget this rule if they think the key [to the handcuffs] is secret [to the handcuffs’ security]. And the more they believe the key is secret, the more risk there is”.

The researcher demonstrated manufacturing the keys using a laser cutter and 3D printer, both of which are commonly available today. The keys were made using Lexan and opened handcuffs made by Chubb and Bonowi, both of which keep tight control of keys to ensure they are accessible only to law enforcement officers.

The researcher said the handcuffs made by both firms allow them to be opened using a standard key that every police officer within a police department has, allowing one officer to lock the handcuffs and another to unlock them. The researcher made the standard keys during the demonstration.

The researcher made the keys using copies he sourced from eBay and unnamed sources. After precisely measuring them and making 3D CAD models, he used a 3D printer, available today in thousands of consumers’ homes, and a laser cutter, broadly available from many publically accessible sources. The tools, says the researcher, are readily available to criminals along with the rest of the public.

“If someone is planning a prison or court escape, he can do it without our help. We’re just making everyone aware, both hackers and the police,” said Ray.

Ray added he will, later this week, upload the CAD files to a 3D web printing enthusiasts’ website called Thingverse.

Ray demonstrated a similar technique in 2009 where he recreated keys used by Dutch police. Ray said he showed the police in Holland first, yet they were not interested and did not want to see the demonstration. Ray said he publically demonstrated the technique anyway.

“Lock security was broken before. I’ve just made it easier,” commented Ray.