A highly readable article from Wired.com about Marc Weber Tobias, a professional lock-breaker and one of those people who is absolutely fascinating to read about, but would be highly annoying to interact with in real-life!

Since Tobias had his sights set on being a professional pain in the ass, law school was a natural choice. So was a private investigator’s license. And a polygraph license. And invitations to help sheriff’s department investigations… And if in the course of an investigation a locked door needed opening or a security system needed circumventing—well, he had some methods for that, too.

These days, Tobias is attacking the lock famous for protecting places like military installations and the homes of American presidents and British royals.

By December 2006, Bluzmanis and Tobias had discovered a method for opening the Medeco3 in about a minute. Tobias called Roberson [Medeco company representative] immediately. “We figured he’d be as interested as we were,” Bluzmanis says. “But he said, ‘No, it’s impossible; the locks must have been defective.'” So a few weeks later, Tobias sent Roberson the breached hardware along with a video of them opening a couple of Medeco locks. “I even posted the clip on my Web site,” Tobias says.

It’s not about me. It’s about what these locks protect,” Tobias says. “Medeco locks are the best in the world—that’s why they’re used by the Pentagon, the embassies. These agencies believe that the locks can’t be picked in under 15 minutes, that they can’t be bumped, that you can’t trace keys onto plastic. It’s the definition of high security—and it’s wrong! We proved it.”

“Look,” he says, taking it down a few notches. “If we can do it, so can the bad guys. Medeco needs to acknowledge it and let the locksmiths know it—and the DOD, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and all their clients.”

Tobias blinks frantically, trying to clear this appalling reality from his view-screen. “You know, they could have just admitted the problem. Just said, ‘Marc, you’re right and we’re wrong and we need to admit this publicly and fix it.’ But did they do that?”

Tobias waggles an emphatic no. “Instead, they called me an extortionist and trashed the Marc Tobias reputation. And they’re going to pay for that,” he says, stabbing the defenseless tablecloth for emphasis. “Oh yeah, arrogance does have its price.”

Advertisements