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There's a device out there that can take any Master combination lock and open it in a few seconds — so if your life savings are secured by one of these venerable padlocks, you might want to grab something more secure. The handmade device comes from Samy Kamkar, a hacker and engineer who in April revealed a method of cracking Master locks by feeling carefully for hitches in the dial's spin, which hint at the actual combination and limit it to eight options. Of course, what your hands can do, a machine can often do faster, so Kamkar built a lock-cracking machine from off-the-shelf parts that automates the whole process.
One part grips the dial and spins to the numbers as it goes through the process of checking for the resistance that indicates the combo. Meanwhile, a little lever tugs on the shackle at the right moments — and to see if the lock opens after each attempt. You can see an in-depth explanation of the device in Kamkar's video below, but if you don't know the difference between DC and AC, or what a stepper motor is, it might be a bit too technical to enjoy.
So is your Master lock in danger? It's possible a thief would put one of these things together, but just as likely they'd carry around a pair of heavy-duty shears, which are a more universal lock-opening device. Your gym clothes or school locker probably aren't in any more danger than they were yesterday.
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