Presented at The Last HOPE (2008), July 19, 2008, 5 p.m. (60 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 fingerwork? (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 has spoken at BlackHat 2007, the 2006 Dutch Open, and Defcon 14. He is a member of the TOOOL.US board of directors, maintains a semblance of an undergraduate career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been picking locks all his life.


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