Cracking a safe protected by a combination lock is typically reserved for skilled professionals or custom machines worth tens of thousands of dollars that are only sold to the military. A pair of Australian security professionals, however, have come up with a brute-force method that relies on technology instead of skill to open such a safe.
Jay Davis and Luke Janke demonstrated their automated safe cracker at the Ruxcon security conference in Melbourne earlier this week. The unnamed device was built largely of 3D printed parts, some step motors from an old stage lighting array and the heart of the gadget, an Arduino microcontroller.
Once attached to a combination lock on a safe, the device works its way through every possible combination using custom software. That certainly sounds like a lot of work – and it is (hey, nobody said it was fast). The team claims the device can crack a safe in less than four days.
That’s not much of a problem if it’s your safe and you happen to forget the combination but don’t expect to break into someone’s house and brute-force their safe… unless they’re on vacation or something (kidding, of course).
Because the device relies on software, it can be optimized for the job much like a brute-force password cracking program can on computers. For example, some combination locks come pre-loaded with several default combinations. By trying these first, the gadget can often crack a safe in just a few minutes versus a few days.
The components to build the device cost around $150 which, if you desperately needing to get into a safe without destroying it, could be a bargain.