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Security Experts Build $150 Safecracker


Thanks to a pair of Melbourne security researchers, the cost of opening safes just hit a new low. Using an arduino platform and 3-D printed parts, the pair has created a contraption that can open many combination locks, like those on ATMs and gun safes. The device costs just $150 in parts, but people shouldn't throw out their safes just yet: it takes about four days to crack the lock.

Brute force attacks, as the term is commonly used in cybersecurity, involve trying lots and lots and lots of possible answers to open a lock. Online, brute force attacks try to guess passwords by putting in literally every word in the book... and then some. (There are other, more gruesome ways to brute force crack a password)

To brute force open the combination locks on a safe, the cheap safecracker is mounted around the lock. A gripper holds onto the knob of the lock, and programming tells the step motors to turn the gripper in sequence as it runs through possible lock combinations.

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