One of the oldest known locks dates back to 4,000 years ago, within the ruins of the ancient Egyptian empire. This lock came to be known as the Egyptian lock because of its popularity in the area. The lock was made of wood and contained wooden pegs of different lengths. A slot in the door provided access to a wooden key with pegs of complementary lengths.
The key needed to be inserted into the lock and lifted up to align the pegs evenly at the top of the bolt, thereby allowing the door to open. Since the Egyptians, we’ve had in uences from the Greeks and Romans, and various eastern implementations from China, Turkey, and India.
Later in uences from Britain and the US have brought us to the various types of locks we rely upon today, which include a combination of movable levers, cylindrical keys, and pin tumblers to make it a little harder for the locks to open without the correct keys.
Read also: electronic door locks
We depend upon locks in our homes for our physical safety, even while many of us are aware of how easy it is to pick locks using different techniques. Many states and countries have attempted to combat the prevalence of lock-picking tools by issuing regulations that prohibit the possession of these tools. But as you can imagine, the mere existence of regulations is unlikely to deter a malicious entity who might want to gain physical access to given premises.
Looking into the future of IoT-enabled devices, it becomes important for us to move beyond concerns about traditional physical lock picking and analyze electronic mechanisms that can put us in a state of higher risk. This chapter takes a look at the security issues surrounding existing electronic door locks, their wireless mechanisms, and their integration with mobile devices.
We will step through these topics in the next few sections, exploring the current security mechanisms (or lack thereof) in electronic door locks. After establishing the bad security decisions manufacturers might be making, we will be more aware of potential risks and have a better idea of what securing these types of locks will require in the future.
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Hotel Door Locks and Magnetic Stripes
One of the more popular door-lock vulnerabilities, discovered by researcher Cody Brocious, affects millions of door locks installed in hotels around the world. Given its potential impact, no conversation on the topic would be complete without a discussion of it. In fact, after Brocious exposed this issue at the Black Hat security conference in July 2012, hotels experienced actual cases of intruders abusing this to enter hotel rooms and steal property