Sneakey Software Simply Needs a Picture to Copy Keys
Article by George Norman
On 03 Nov 2008
That is not a typo, the name of the software developed by UC San Diego scientists is actually called “Sneakey”. This particular piece of software is actually a form of image-recognition technology, just that instead of analyzing scanned documents like Google’s OCR, it analyzes pictures of keys in order to generate a key duplicate. The picture doesn’t even have to be a high quality one, a low resolution, long distance one will do very well.

The computer scientists from the University of California, San Diego, say that there is reason behind their madness. They came up with the key-recognition software not to break into people’s homes (although the potential for that is great), they just wanted to show the world that nothing is as safe as you might think it is, not even your house keys.


According to Stefan Savage, computer science professor at Jacobs School of Engineering, the house keys used to be safe, with the emphasis on the words “used to be”. Digital imaging and optics have come such a long way now that it is possible to copy someone’s house keys from such a long distance that they will remain blissfully unaware of it. In the demo provided by Sneakey’s developers, the software was able to create exact duplicates from a low resolution image taken with a mobile phone, and from a picture taken with a 5in telephoto lens from a distance of 60 meters (that’s the length of about 12 to 13 average cars).

If you somehow manage to get a high resolution picture of a key, then a good locksmith will be able to create a working duplicate of it, says Stefan Savage. The only upside for the security oriented house owner is that Sneakey works only on Yale-type keys; it might work on other key types, but the result might not be a working duplicate.

Tags: Sneakey, UC San Diego, Google
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

I Hope you LIKE this blog post! Thank you!
What do YOU have to say about this
blog comments powered by Disqus
Popular News
By George Norman on 28 Jun 2017
The last time that Yahoo Mail changed its design was back in October 2013, when it celebrated its "sweet sixteen." That old design has now been replaced with a new one, and here's everything that's changed.
By George Norman on 26 Jun 2017
Remember the classic SEGA games of old, the ones that you used to play as a kid? Well, SEGA is taking you on a nostalgia trip by giving you the chance to play these games once more, but this time on your mobile.
Related News
By George Norman on 03 Apr 2017
Any other day of the year, Google is a serious and focused company that doesn’t mess around. But on April 1st, all seriousness goes out the window and Google shows that it has a fun side and that it loves to pull pranks.
By George Norman on 17 May 2017
Google once again drew our attention to the fact that the way people watch TV is fundamentally changing. This time, Google highlighted the fact that watching YouTube on a TV screen is on the increase, with 2 out of 3 YouTube viewers saying that they watch YouTube on their TVs.
By George Norman on 17 Feb 2017
The Super Bowl isn’t just about passes, tackles, improbable comebacks, and record-setting passing yards. It’s also about the halftime show and, let’s not forget, the ads.
By George Norman on 13 Feb 2017
Help a pangolin woo his scaly soulmate, save the illustrious Magic Cat Academy, put a stop to Beethoven's rotten luck, create a fun Venn diagram, and more...
Sponsored Links
Hot Software Updates
Top Downloads
Become A Fan!
Link To Us!
Sneakey Software Simply Needs a Picture to Copy Keys
HTML Linking Code