Saturday, November 1, 2008

New things to guard against in 2009 (Part 1 - Keys)

Long has it been advised to protect your personal information in public. Things like guarding your PIN from being observed at POS counters and ATM machines. Keeping a finger over your CC numbers as much as possible in public when they are out of your wallet. Don't carry your SS card in your wallet / purse. Watch for odd looking attachments on card readers (although lately that's not as effective, new black market card readers can be inserted inside some gas station pump CC slots.)

Now comes software that can duplicate your car and house keys from surveillance photos.

"UC San Diego computer scientists have built a software program that can perform key duplication without having the key. Instead, the computer scientists only need a photograph of the key.

. . . advances in digital imaging and optics have made it easy to duplicate someone's keys from a distance without them even noticing."

In one demonstration of the new software system, the computer scientists took pictures of common residential house keys with a cell phone camera, fed the image into their software which then produced the information needed to create identical copies. In another example, they used a five inch telephoto lens to capture images from the roof of a campus building and duplicate keys sitting on a café table about 200 feet away.