Menu
That TSA-approved lock on your suitcase just got hacked

That TSA-approved lock on your suitcase just got hacked

If the lock is 'TSA recognized,' the master keys are out there for anyone to copy

It's a basic fact of life that once you publish something on the Internet, it's pretty much impossible to get it back. Now illustrating that point with painful clarity, images of the TSA's master luggage keys have been published online, meaning that anyone with a 3D printer can make their own.

It all started when The Washington Post published a story last November about "the secret life of baggage" that was reportedly accompanied -- only briefly -- by a photo of the master keys the Transportation Security Administration uses to open what it calls "TSA recognized" luggage locks.

The photo was hastily taken down, but -- predictably -- not before it was snagged and circulated. Reports about the leak began to appear last month, but it wasn't until this week that detailed blueprints showed up on GitHub.

"Security researchers have long warned of the dangers of using master-keyed locks," wrote Xyl2k, the GitHub user who posted the detailed plans.

Now, anyone with a 3D printer can create their own copies of the TSA master keys -- and create them they have, according to reports from exuberant users.

"OMG, it's actually working!!!" wrote Bernard Bolduc on Twitter, for example.

The TSA's master keys are designed to enable security officers to inspect luggage without having to cut off any locks protecting it. They work on locks created specifically for that purpose through partnerships between the agency and lock manufacturers.

"These locks are available at most airports and many travel stores nationwide," the TSA noted in a blog post early last year. "The packaging on the locks indicates whether they can be opened by TSA."

Neither The Washington Post nor the TSA responded immediately to a request for comment.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments