Bump Keys: How Thieves Use 3D-Printed And Other Bump Keys To Break In Homes, Cars

In the ever-growing trend of grand theft auto and car thieves, people are finding more creative ways of breaking into people’s cars and driving off with their hard-earned vehicle. And those thieves are using so-called “bump keys,” which one man used to steal five cars, reports the Springfield News-Leader. After using bump keys and hot-wiring the cars, the 28-year-old was caught.

Consumers would be surprised to find out just how thieves are using bump keys and the creative means they have found to break into vehicles. Long gone are the days of merely using a coat hanger to break in through the window or simply smashing it. Now, they have an arsenal of something called bump keys in order to get inside of a car with ease. These are 3D-printed keys that take the form of the key in question, which works for homes as well as cars. They are an entire plastic replica of a key someone already owns. How is someone able to do this without having the key in his or her hands? By having a picture of the key, and a little technical know-how, you can 3D-print a key and essentially get into anything that person owns.

As reported by Wired, there are actual apps out there that have either intentionally or unintentionally helped thieves create bump keys.

Once the key is built, it becomes much simpler. You stick the key into the keyhole of your choice and then hit it with a mallet — literally. This creates energy from the bump that is transferred directly to the grooves of the pins. The top layer of the pins will move out the way with enough length of time that lets you turn the tumblers. It is ingenious and frightening all at the same time. Now, it sounds too easy for any person off the street to do, but it is honestly that simple. And although people can just go online and learn how to do this, more people who specialize in lock picking are working with manufacturing departments to have them create locks that make bump keys impossible to use. These techniques will eventually become a thing of the past as more manufacturers catch on to the methods of thievery.

Bump keys are definitely interesting, and they act as a skeleton key to whatever you happen to take a picture of, but they are not something to entirely fear. As long as you are diligent with basic safety techniques and keep your keys nearby, bumps keys are unlikely to be a concern.

[Image via YouTube]