Automated Combination Lock Cracker

The Combination Reclamation Device (screenshot from YouTube video)

The Combination Reclamation Device (screenshot from YouTube video)

The Security Breach Team, a group of students at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, recently finished work on a class project that offers an interesting twist on computer security. Computer “cracking” normally involves breaking access control systems in some form of computer, but these guys have given things a twist in developing a device that can brute-force the combination to a physical padlock.

As you’ll see in the video below, the project uses some custom software (running on Linux, of course!) to control the stepper motor, rotation encoder, and solenoid that are used to rotate the dial and pull on the shackle. The most interesting part of the design is that the device does not simply iterate through all 64,000 possible lock combinations in a brute-force manner; instead, it applies a known algorithm to reduce the search space and find the solution relatively quickly.

I’m impressed with the ingenuity of the group, and hope that once they graduate, they choose to use their power for good, rather than evil…

Roy Wood

About Roy Wood

Father of two, fan of open source software, outdoor enthusiast, eater of pie.

Roy Wood

About Roy Wood

Father of two, fan of open source software, outdoor enthusiast, eater of pie.

One thought on “Automated Combination Lock Cracker

  1. yet another show of how to crack the “easiest to crack” combination lock every produced. lets see these guys or this machine crack the code to any of the other locks master lock manufactures. ya know, the majority of which DO NOT “stick” when the shackle is pulled. ill be waiting :)

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