Skip to main content

Snap a photo, duplicate a key and break into a stranger’s home? There’s a site for that

Keys
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why waste your time and gas on a trip to your local hardware store when you can duplicate your house keys with just your smartphone? That’s the dream offered by a company called Keys Duplicated (formerly known as Shloosl), a website that “has helped thousands of people safely and securely make copies of their keys,” according to its “About” page.

The process is simple: Upload photos of the front and back of your key, pay $6 for the first copy and $4 for every copy after that, then sit back and wait for your keys to arrive at your home (free shipping, cut and mailed the same day). Keys Duplicated also claims that their copies work better than the original and that security is their top priority.

A recent investigation by NBC New York’s I-Team casts a shadow on the latter assertion, which makes the former a tad disconcerting.

The investigation found that it was possible to take a photo of a key ring on a desk, edit the image to isolate a single house key, send that doctored photo to Keys Duplicated and get a functioning copy within a week. The I-Team then took to the public sphere and snapped photos of exposed keys (e.g., hanging out of someone’s pocket, sitting on a table) to illustrate how easy it would be to forge a stranger’s key.

Ali Rahimi, founder of Keys Duplicated, said the lessons from this investigation were worth noting. He added that in response to the investigation, the company would flag suspicious pictures of keys and follow up with those customers to request photos of the key in their hand.

Keys Duplicated’s website includes a page about security, which highlights two hurdles for potential abusers: a credit card is required to use the service, which makes it easy to identify a possible offender; and uploaded pictures must be high quality and display the front and back of the key. The company also says customers’ addresses are redacted from their system a few days after shipment, and that other bits of order information are “stored under bank-grade cryptography.”

All that said, there are other ways for miscreants to make copies of keys that aren’t their own, from old-school clay impressions to more modern tactics. For instance, KeyMe recently partnered with Shapeways to give people a way to take pictures of keys and use them to create 3D-printed copies, which is quite similar (albeit more expensive and fancy) than trying to do the same with Key Duplicated.

Innovative technology has a tendency to spark conversations that serve as wakeup calls, and this instance seems no different.

Editors' Recommendations

Jason Hahn
Jason Hahn is a part-time freelance writer based in New Jersey. He earned his master's degree in journalism at Northwestern…
How to use Amazon Echo as a doorbell chime
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 installed near a door.

Did you know you can use your Amazon Echo smart speaker or your Echo Show smart display as a doorbell chime? As long as you have a compatible doorbell product that Alexa can handshake with, you’ll be able to receive doorbell notifications in the form of audible chimes, as well as video live-feeds (if you’re using an Echo Show). 

Read more
What is the Amazon Echo Hub?
A person using the Amazon Echo Hub.

Amazon already has a robust lineup of smart displays, but the new Echo Hub is something entirely different. While it looks a bit like an Echo Show, the Echo Hub isn't a smart display -- it's a smart home hub designed to be mounted directly on your wall.

Unlike the Echo and Echo Show products, the Echo Hub isn’t a tabletop device. In fact, you'll need to pay extra for an optional stand just so you can place it on your table or countertop. That's because the Echo Hub is a smart control panel, not a smart speaker or smart display. Amazon bills the Echo Hub as "an Alexa-enabled control panel for your smart home devices." After getting it mounted to your wall, it'll sync up with the rest of your smart home and make it easy to control your various gadgets via its touchscreen.

Read more
This robot vacuum just had its price slashed from $199 to $79
The iHome AutoVac Juno robot vacuum cleaning the floor.

Even with the discounts from robot vacuum deals, you'll come across options that are still pretty expensive. Fortunately, there are budget-friendly devices like the iHome AutoVac Juno. It's already relatively affordable at its original price of $199, but a $120 discount from Walmart drops it all the way down to $79. If you want to get this robot vacuum for this cheap, you're going to have to push through with the purchase immediately because stocks may already be running low. If you keep delaying, there's a chance that you miss out.

Why you should buy the iHome AutoVac Juno robot vacuum
The iHome AutoVac Juno robot vacuum offers 2,000 Pa of suction power and a three-brush 3system, which allows it to pick up dirt and debris from all kinds of floor types. It can also handle pet hair, with the promise that there won't be any entanglements as it goes through your home. The robot vacuum can run up to 100 minutes from a full charge, and once it's done cleaning or when its battery runs low, it automatically returns to its charging base.

Read more