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THE SIDEBAR: MARC WEBER TOBIAS

The Medeco® m3 Deadbolt Design: How Secure is it?

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A SIMPLE ATTACK CAN BYPASS THE SECURITY OF THIS LOCK IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE, RENDERING ALL OF THE ADVANCED MEDECO TECHNOLOGIES VIRTUALLY IRRELEVANT.

If you are a locksmith or security professional, see the detailed analysis that follows. The password is available on ClearStar. or from the author.

There are millions of Medeco deadbolt systems in place worldwide. They are rated as one of the most secure systems available. That is based upon the Medeco reputation for quality and engineering excellence and their high security ratings by UL, BHMA/ANSI and other standards organizations. The current mechanical design of their deadbolt has been utilized on the Biaxial® product line and now the m3. Bypass of these systems by means of forced entry has been difficult although there are expensive tools that are available to compromise them.

We have conducted very limited testing but it appears there may be a serious security flaw in certain of their deadbolt designs. Part of the problem results from widening of the keyway in the m3 as discussed in Part I of this series of articles. We would urge any user to contact their locksmith, security consultant, or Medeco representative for further information. Medeco has been notified and is aware of the issue. We believe the problem is mainly with the m3 deadbolt cylinders but there may also be some Biaxial® models that could be affected.

A detailed analysis is available together with a video demonstration that clearly shows the method of bypass. This publication has been restricted to locksmiths and the professional security community because of the simplicity of the technique and the potential security ramifications that could result from a public disclosure of the exact method. If you have security responsibility, you may contact the author for access to the restricted document. The password has been posted on ClearStar for security professionals.

Marc Tobias and Matt Fiddler will be addressing this issue at Defcon 15 on August 5 in Las Vegas as part of a two hour presentation regarding design issues with conventional and high security locks. Marc Tobias will also be presenting with regard to high security locks at the HITB conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the first week in September.

® Medeco and Biaxial are registered trademarks of Medeco Security Locks, Inc.

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