Home / Government Surveillance / The TSA Just Made Every Luggage Lock in the World Obsolete with One Simple Blunder

The TSA Just Made Every Luggage Lock in the World Obsolete with One Simple Blunder

A group of lock-picking and security aficionados posted a set of files on Wednesday that allow 3-D printers to replicate the TSA’s master luggage keys. The file was created after The Washington Post erroneously published an article that included a photograph of the TSA’s master keys.

Although the newspaper has removed the photo from its website, at least one 3-D printer owner has already downloaded the files, printed a master key, and posted a video depicting the printed key opening a TSA-approved luggage lock. The leaked master keys can open every type of TSA recognized locks, including Master Lock, Samsonite, and American Tourister.

In November, The Washington Post published an article titled “The secret life of baggage: Where does your luggage go at the airport?” that mistakenly included a photo of the TSA’s master luggage keys. By simply looking at the photo, lockpickers figured out how to replicate the keys using 3-D printers. Although The Washington Post removed the photo from its site, the notorious picture continues to circulate online.

On Wednesday, a Github user named Xylitol published a set of CAD files that allow anyone with a 3-D printer to replicate the precisely measured set of TSA master keys.

“Honestly I wasn’t expecting this to work, even though I tried to be as accurate as possible from the pictures. I did this for fun and don’t even have a TSA-approved lock to test,” Xylitol wrote in an email to WIRED. “But if someone reported it that my 3D models are working, well, that’s cool, and it shows…how a simple picture of a set of keys can compromise a whole system.”

Within hours, a Montreal-based Unix administrator named Bernard Bolduc downloaded the files and printed one of the TSA’s keys using his PrintrBot Simple Metal printer. The key immediately opened a TSA recognized lock on Bolduc’s luggage. He posted a video on Twitter proving that the 3-D printed key worked on TSA-approved locks.

According to researchers, keys can be decoded and replicated from photographs taken as far as 195ft away. The photo in The Washington Post article depicted a close-up shot of the TSA’s master keys.

By allowing the newspaper to photograph the master keys, the TSA revealed yet another in a series of security failures. On June 1, TSA Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway was demoted after undercover Homeland Security agents successfully smuggled dozens of fake explosives and banned weapons through airport security checkpoints.

In a separate incident in 2013, an undercover DHS agent successfully smuggled a fake bomb through a metal detector at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport. Although TSA screeners administered a pat down, they were unable to detect the mock explosive strapped to his body.

Although the TSA is directly responsible for the current security lapse, The Washington Post also shares the blame for publishing the photo of the master luggage keys.

With the ability to print guns and the TSA’s master luggage keys, the owners of 3-D printers are consistently testing the boundaries of liberty as the TSA scrambles to improve security.

  • This is what happens when an entity is given a monopoly on ‘security’. ‘Like’ + Comment + Share if you agree.

    • The TSA, or what you have read about them is not an entity, its composed of different organizations with different capabilities. The people who work in the airports, they have no real control over anything, so you, yourself, are a peon as much as they are. What someone who does this is, let me show you how much I have deluded myself to the point where I am showing how having the tools for a criminal are good.

    • What do you gain by opening TSA locks, how does this benefit anyone. TSA locks are there, because the officers have keys and are able to unlock them and make sure the contents stay secured. after the necessary checks are done.
      Would someone rather the locks get popped off and broken, is that what you’d prefer, or anyone prefer?

    • Free Thought, you used to be so much better than this, I am very disappointed. What happened?

    • This government, anyway.

  • This is what happens when an entity is given a monopoly on ‘security’. ‘Like’ + Comment + Share if you agree.

    • The TSA, or what you have read about them is not an entity, its composed of different organizations with different capabilities. The people who work in the airports, they have no real control over anything, so you, yourself, are a peon as much as they are. What someone who does this is, let me show you how much I have deluded myself to the point where I am showing how having the tools for a criminal are good.

    • What do you gain by opening TSA locks, how does this benefit anyone. TSA locks are there, because the officers have keys and are able to unlock them and make sure the contents stay secured. after the necessary checks are done.
      Would someone rather the locks get popped off and broken, is that what you’d prefer, or anyone prefer?

    • Free Thought, you used to be so much better than this, I am very disappointed. What happened?

    • This government, anyway.

  • How does this help anyone?

  • How does this help anyone?

  • Take a look 🙂

  • Take a look 🙂

  • Back in the 80s
    The news broadcasted how to break into toyota pick ups with a pencil .

  • Back in the 80s
    The news broadcasted how to break into toyota pick ups with a pencil .

  • Jesus…More Excellent Work From The TSA!

  • Jesus…More Excellent Work From The TSA!

  • 2 plant drugs& make more illegal revenue to keep controlling& fining you by; coz the terrorist are already there letting you through.

  • 2 plant drugs& make more illegal revenue to keep controlling& fining you by; coz the terrorist are already there letting you through.

  • Why dont i have a digital printer yet?

  • Why dont i have a digital printer yet?

  • And STILL haven’t caught a single terrorist.

  • And STILL haven’t caught a single terrorist.

  • With most luggage, you can jam a pen into the zipper area and it will open it.

  • With most luggage, you can jam a pen into the zipper area and it will open it.

  • yeah….well I dont store shit in my luggage anyway. Hell, I dont even OWN luggage, LOL

  • yeah….well I dont store shit in my luggage anyway. Hell, I dont even OWN luggage, LOL

  • Why does the TSA need access to my luggage. So basically they can set you up by putting whatever they wish in your luggage. F that only take carry on luggage. Never let it leave your sight.

    • perhaps to check luggage while in transit for …you know…things that go boom?

    • They have X-rays for that. Seeing as you are held responsible for anything in your luggage it is best of you don’t let it out of your sight. I don’t trust our Government so I wouldn’t put it past them to do something like that. Oh and did you read that there have been 403 TSA agents arrested for theft since they started.

    • I agree Michael. I just don’t fly then those fuckers can’t fuck with me. As if i want them to take a picture of my balls so i can fly to vegas and spend money…. no thanks, ill stay in canada.

  • Why does the TSA need access to my luggage. So basically they can set you up by putting whatever they wish in your luggage. F that only take carry on luggage. Never let it leave your sight.

    • perhaps to check luggage while in transit for …you know…things that go boom?

    • They have X-rays for that. Seeing as you are held responsible for anything in your luggage it is best of you don’t let it out of your sight. I don’t trust our Government so I wouldn’t put it past them to do something like that. Oh and did you read that there have been 403 TSA agents arrested for theft since they started.

    • I agree Michael. I just don’t fly then those fuckers can’t fuck with me. As if i want them to take a picture of my balls so i can fly to vegas and spend money…. no thanks, ill stay in canada.

  • Useless fucks have wasted millions in taxpayer dollars while catching 0 terrorists and infringing upon every citizen’s rights. Get rid of their asses.

  • Useless fucks have wasted millions in taxpayer dollars while catching 0 terrorists and infringing upon every citizen’s rights. Get rid of their asses.

  • And this is how TSA agents steal your stuff.

  • And this is how TSA agents steal your stuff.

  • It was done intentionally so as to avoid accountability.

  • It was done intentionally so as to avoid accountability.

  • Quit calling what they are doing security

  • Quit calling what they are doing security

  • And this is where the thought of ‘ could we or should we’ comes into play

  • And this is where the thought of ‘ could we or should we’ comes into play

  • The TSA is another complete waste of taxpayers money, when you have to scan grandma that’s a problem

  • The TSA is another complete waste of taxpayers money, when you have to scan grandma that’s a problem

  • Rich Viscito