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Abusing the Internet of Things by Nitesh Dhanjani

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Chapter 2. Electronic Lock Picking—Abusing Door Locks to Compromise Physical Security

One of the oldest known locks dates back to 4,000 years ago, within the ruins of the ancient Egyptian empire. This lock came to be known as the Egyptian lock because of its popularity in the area. The lock was made of wood and contained wooden pegs of different lengths. A slot in the door provided access to a wooden key with pegs of complementary lengths. The key needed to be inserted into the lock and lifted up to align the pegs evenly at the top of the bolt, thereby allowing the door to open.

Since the Egyptians, we’ve had influences from the Greeks and Romans, and various eastern implementations from China, Turkey, and India. Later influences from Britain and the US have brought us to the various types of locks we rely upon today, which include a combination of movable levers, cylindrical keys, and pin tumblers to make it a little harder for the locks to open without the correct keys.

We depend upon locks in our homes for our physical safety, even while many of us are aware of how easy it is to pick locks using different techniques. Many states and countries have attempted to combat the prevalence of lock-picking tools by issuing regulations that prohibit the possession of these tools. But as you can imagine, the mere existence of regulations is unlikely to deter a malicious entity who might want to gain physical access to a given premises.

Looking into the future of IoT-enabled devices, it ...

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