It took only a few minutes in the public's eye for one of the TSA's master key designs to have its portrait drawn up and 3D printed. More of the master keys are being rendered as CAD (computer aided design) blueprints, and they all have been working so far.
Because the peaks and valleys of the key's teeth disarm locks, all that is needed is a picture of a physical key to fabricate it with a 3D printer, pointed out LawFare's Nicholas Weaver.
"So by simply including a pretty picture of the complete spread of TSA keys in the Washington Post's paean to the TSA, the Washington Post enabled anyone to make their own TSA keys," wrote Weaver.
Keys Past the Hassle
Opening any TSA approved lock is now as simple as heading over to GitHub's repository for TSA's Travel Sentry master keys and downloading the STL (Stereolithography) files. From there, anyone can send the CAD to a 3D printer and reproduce as many of the master keys as they would like.
Because the CAD files have already been prepared and packaged as STL files, the master key clones can be sent to a 3D printer and produced in mere minutes.
OMG, it's actually working!!! pic.twitter.com/rotJPJqjTg
— Bernard Bolduc (@bernard) September 9, 2015
Not everyone found success right away when printing the master keys. Some people have reported having to adjust the scale of the CAD files in order to get them to work.
COMFIRMED: I now have the CORRECT scale for the TSA keys. The Github ones DO NOT WORK. Will upload files later. pic.twitter.com/5N3PCHho98
— J0hnny Xm4s (@J0hnnyXm4s) September 11, 2015
It may be unnerving to frequent flyers. As Tech Times' own Steven Schneider, however, points out, the TSA is far from lax when it comes to airport security.
"At the very least, the TSA will likely change its key and lock designs soon—though they should probably update their photography policies as well," Schneider wrote.
Just because someone recommends people use certain "approved" locks doesn't mean that people should take their word for it, says Shahab Sheikhzadeh, a security researcher who assisted in the publication of the key designs on GitHub.
"We're in a day and age when pretty much anything can be reproduced with a photograph, a 3D printer and some ingenuity," said Sheikhzadeh.