Safecracking Without a Trace

Presented at DEF CON 14 (2006), Aug. 5, 2006, 6 p.m. (50 minutes)

Despite many appearances in film and television, fairly little is widely known about how safes can be opened without the proper combination or key. This talk will attempt to address some of the questions commonly asked about the craft, such as -- is it really possible to have a safe open in a minute or two using just a stethoscope and some clever finger-work? (Yes, but it will take a bit more time than a few minutes.) Are the gadgets used by secret agents in the movies ever based on reality? (Some of them.) The talk will cover several different ways that safes are opened without damage, as well as the design of one lock that is considered completely secure.


  • Eric Schmiedl
    Eric Schmiedl is studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since learning to pick locks in elementary school, he's taught lockpicking workshops at What the Hack 2005 (in exchange for food and a tent to crash in), opened safes for the MIT pistol team, and done contract work for M. Tobias, JD of Locks, Safes, and Security fame.


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