Two Steps Behind

Websites are a great place to quickly find information, but the information you obtain should always be double-checked and verified before depending on it as factual.

A recent website video by ABC News featured a homeowner who had valuables stolen from his car during the night. Fortunately, this homeowner had a security system video camera operating. The video shows a thief walking next to owner’s car. The thief lifted the passenger door handle for a second and the inside dome light immediately illuminated. The thief then lifted the car door handle again and the door opened. The thief sat in the vehicle for a few moments and then left apparently with some stolen goods.

ABC continued their reporting by interviewing a local locksmith. The locksmith stated that he had “never seen anything like that.” He also stated that if someone wanted to take the time to study the vehicle electronics, they would probably be successful. Viewers were left with the impression that any car can be magically opened in seconds and the lock industry has no solution for the problem.

Police were also interviewed by ABC News and they used the phrase “code grabbing” in their remarks. Several overseas internet sites advertise code scanners (grabbers). If a thief is nearby when a car owner uses a remote to lock or unlock his or her car, the thief can possibly use this mail order code scanner to intercept and capture that radio signal. Once the signal is in the scanner memory, it can be used just like the original remote to quickly unlock the vehicle.

Electronics has introduced a whole new set of parameters for the security industry. Just as warded locks of the 1800s were supplanted by the increased security of pin tumbler locks, electronics security is always in a state of advancement. Some 10-year old cars may use remote radio signals which are easily captured. However, newer technology using rolling codes negates the use of a captured code. Algorithms reportedly can be used to predict the next code in the sequence, but only after days or weeks of using the fastest computers.

Our job is to be problem solvers. We must be two steps ahead of security problems, not two steps behind. For a locksmith to offer a comment stating the he had “never seen anything like this” is not doing justice to our profession. A negative attitude from the locksmith being interviewed casts a shadow on all locksmiths. The police had the answer and we should be trained enough to also have had the answers.

It is imperative that we never stop learning. Security innovations are moving ahead at a rapid pace. If we don’t have the answers, then some other profession will and that adds up to a loss for everyone calling themselves locksmiths.