Opening electronic safe locks with ketchup and lasers

Jan-Willem Markus

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Mechanical safe locks are quickly replaced with their electronic counterparts. While there are many benefits, the security implications are far less understood than the mechanical systems. Jan-Willem collects and researches electronic safe locks and will share his thoughts. From dumping chips with lasers to locks which can be opened with ketchup.

We use safes to protect our valuables from threats. We trust these systems to keep the assets safe. Mechanical combination locks can be quite cumbersome to operate, and don't have the benefits including auditing, remote access, multi-user, time lock, and much more. But how the additional electronics impacts the security of the safe isn't widely understood.

This talk goes into researching the security of electronic safe locks, from reverse engineering known attacks, to learning from scratch. For example, we used laser fault injection to read out the memory of several chips to analyze the code looking for bugs and back doors. While at the low-end, we reverse engineered lock spiking, and use ketchup to open locks.