[ISN] Locksmiths may pose a threat

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat Feb 20 1999 - 01:52:54 PST

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    [Moderator: Interesting article, but on the fringe..]
    Forwarded From: anon <anonat_private>
    Locksmiths may pose a threat to Society
    Attention all Security Managers, your building may not be a safe place to
    store your valuables. With the growing number of lock installations it is
    becoming easier for locksmiths to access your property. 
    Experts agree that there is no lock good enough to keep out those very
    skilled locksmiths, who have been dismantling and picking locks for
    "There is no such thing as a secure lock, so someone will always manage to
    get past it." said Ofar Cue, Chief Security officer at Locks and Stuff
    Technologies, a company responsible for ensuring the safety of valuable
    equipment owned by other people. 
    The number of incidents involving this sort of crime are difficult to
    track, mainly because some companies are afraid to admit to the public
    that they have been burgled. However in a survey taken by the Secure Locks
    Institute of Phoenix, companies have seen a dramatic rise in lock-related
    crime, ranging from thieves using a bolt-cutter to cut through a padlock
    (termed a "brute force" attack by the industry) to highly skilled evasions
    of electronic locks. 
    The figures that were quoted in the survey found that nearly 80% of
    companies interviewed admitted to being victim to some or other
    lock-related crime last year, a rise of 23% over 1997. 
    "Frankly, this is unacceptable." said Roger Mee, an advocate for the
    strict crackdown on locksmiths. 
    Many organisations fear an attack from without, by the steorotypical
    locksmith: a young male who has just received his first lockpicking set
    for his birthday and is intent on causing mischief. 
    A spokesmen for a locksmiths association refutes this image, saying that
    what the public sees as a "locksmith" is actually a clueless kid who poses
    no threat. "There are strict but unwritten rules on how to be a part of
    the secretive locksmith community, a community based on skill and not on
    race, religion or sex." he went on to say. 
    Locksmith motives range from the thrill of the challenge, the glory among
    fellow compatriots, to financial gain and industrial espionage. 
    "We do it for the challenge and the thrill!" says LockBuster, whose name
    is a pseudonym that keeps this young locksmith from being arrested. "We
    never steal anything though. But there are people out there who do. They
    are not true locksmiths." 
    The most dangerous of motives however is revenge by a former employee. 
    Professional consultants who are hired to test companies' lock security
    LBM (Lock and Barrel Mechanisms) have recently set up their penetration
    and attack lab, and claim that none of the members are reformed
    locksmiths. A spokesman for the company had this to say:  "Many companies
    fear an attack from outside, but the main threat is from your employees.
    It is much easier to compromise a lock from the inside, a fact which
    recent lab tests have proved to us." 
    Ima Wan King, a lock security specialist at a Georgeville lock company,
    has been on the scene for 25 years. He says that he has seen the locksmith
    inspiration change over that time. 
    The locksmith mentality, which has been "fiddle but don't unlock"  was
    that of the "White Hat" good-guys locksmiths who point out a locks weak
    points, King said. It now also includes the desire for valuable property
    behind those locks or even terrorism, such as breaking a lock in such a
    way to make it unusable. 
    There are indications that organised crime and international terrorism has
    found its way into the community. With payoffs in the millions, locksmiths
    who are responsible for lock installations are handing out spare keys and
    allowing easy access. 
    Opponents of this theory however say that this is not much different from
    the recently proposed government draft requiring all locks to have a spare
    key made and handed to the government for safe-keeping.  This is a serious
    area of contention, and raises many questions, one of which is "Where do
    we put the spare key for the safe that holds all the spare keys?". 
    King attends some of the locksmith conventions whose participants range
    from "white hats" and government agents to people who wear floppy bunny
    ears and skimpy bikinis and walk around serving drinks. 
    But he said, "The scary ones are the ones who aren't like that...  They're
    pretty professional and do it for TVs and VCRs. These guys don't get
    caught all that much."
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