Saturday, March 1, 2014

Safe cracking

I haven't posted anything for a while, since I haven't encountered really interesting stuff I'd like to share. Until yesterday :)

My boss coughed up an old digital lock safe, to which he had lost the code and the backup key. He wasn't even sure what was inside the box and came to me to ask if my colleague and I had any idea.

Without any knowledge about the make or manufacturer of the safe, I had little to work with. I event tried to find it with google image search, but didn't find anything, so I had no real info to work with.

I started by trying some easy codes, like 0000, 1234 and so on, but after the first 2 codes, the keypad went silent for about a minute and after a couple more tries, it went off for about 5 minutes. Trying to guess the combination was clearly not an option... I didn't even know how long the code was supposed to be!

The first thing I noticed was that the cover, which holds the keypad in place, was not solid and with a little further investigation I was able to see that it was held in place with a screw, which was hidden under the "Digital" -sign.

I opened the panel, hoping to find the circuit in place, but instead found a physical lock.

I then decided to try and pick the lock, since I had no other ideas at the moment.

The key must be huge, because my picks seemed really small, when I was picking the lock. My tension tool was almost too small for the keyhole (that's what she said)! Here are the tools I used to open the safe (the tension tool is in the keyhole):

This isn't a write-up about how to pick a lock, so let's just say that I managed to pick it. It was surprisingly easy, probably because the safe was clearly a cheap one. If you are looking for a guide on how to pick locks, google will help you out on that.

Not too interesting yet, eh? It was fun to open, but the really interesting stuff starts here. Inside the safe, there was a small red button, with which you can reset the access code:
See the hole on the bottom, next to the hinge? As far as I can tell, the hole is there so you can bolt the safe in place, so you can't take it away and open with power tools... But who the hell thought that it's a good idea to place the reset button next to a hole?

Before I go on, I have to say that I tried to take a peek inside the safe through the holes, but it was so full of junk that I couldn't see anything.

So a hole next to the reset button, eh? Time to test if you can open the safe by re-programming the code. All you need is something to push the reset button with. It takes some time to find the correct angle to hit the button, but eventually you'll get it.

Once you manage to press the button, you hear a  beeping noise from the safe. After it you simply enter a new combination for the safe and then you can open the safe with the newly set code.

The green light turns on when you open the safe with a correct code.

So what's the lesson of the story? If you want to keep your stuff safe, don't get a cheap safe. If you do get a cheap one and it has holes in it, then use the holes to mount the safe in place to prevent anyone from accessing the insides. And if you design safes, it's probably a bad idea to place the reset code button next to a hole in the bottom!