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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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KeyMe, a house key data and key replication app, has launched today for iOS, helping users keep secure virtual copies of their keys even in the event that their original keys are lost.

The app includes features such as the ability for users to scan in virtualized photos of keys on their phone using the camera, as well data storage of specific house key characteristics to make locksmith replication easier. KeyMe also gives users the ability to place mail orders for spare keys through the app and to share digital copies of keys with others.

keymescreenshot.jpg
Store your key now, thank yourself later. KeyMe is a simple and secure way to store, copy, and share your keys.
KeyMe began as a startup in 2012 and raised $2.3 million during its initial round of funding. The company has also installed self-service kiosks in select Manhattan 7-Elevens in June, and will continue a gradual rollout throughout the US in the coming months.

KeyMe can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Article Link: House Key Scanning Service 'KeyMe' Launches for iOS to Help Users Recover from Lost Keys
 

'Arry

macrumors newbie
Mar 8, 2012
16
13
Take photo of key. Get copy of key by mail order. What could possibly go wrong?
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
My first reaction was that this is a neat tool for people who frequently misplace their keys or want to be sure to have a backup just in case.

My second reaction was there would seem to be a HUGE concern with security. I see people leaving their keys all the time: at a restaurant/bar to go to the bathroom, in the coat area to go use machines at the rec center, etc.

If someone leaves their keys unattended for a few seconds, someone could easily scan a copy of it and get their own copy made. Doesn't even have to be a stranger who scans a key and then follows you to your car or home to break in later — friends, ex's, etc. do sometimes rob people.

I guess people have to be even more careful with their keys now...

EDIT: Their website says: "Keys can only be scanned when off of the keychain, placed on a white piece of paper, and taken from 4" away. Furthermore, we require that users scan both sides of the key." This doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent, although slightly better than nothing I guess.

They also say "To provide the highest level of security for our users, we require a two-step verification process for mobile registration. We combine a robust email authentication with an extremely secure credit card confirmation." So I guess if you're robbed with no sign of forced entry, and you know this service exists, you might be able to find out who robbed you (but I doubt it would hold up in court — how could you prove you just didn't forget to lock up and someone else came by?!).

In any case, seems like a service that would be way too easy to abuse.
 
Last edited:

firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
6,258
1,117
Somewhere!
I have a push button coded keypad on my front door and a real estate lock box with a key somewhere on my property. Problem solved and no risk. Plus I have one attack dog and security system if you do get past the code on my front door lock. Solves my problem of lost key.

Oh, and if you get past my dog, I also have an attack wife!
 

'Arry

macrumors newbie
Mar 8, 2012
16
13
It seems like they've given security a lot of thought:
KeyMe's key scanning process is designed to strictly prevent any use of flyby pictures. Keys can only be scanned when off of the keychain, placed on a white piece of paper, and taken from 4" away. Furthermore, we require that users scan both sides of the key.
This system is totally secure, as long as

  • the key is on an unremovable keychain (I don't know about you, but ALL my keychains do not allow the removal of keys in any way)
  • the potential thief does not have access to a white piece of paper
  • the potential thief does not have 60 seconds with an iPhone to take a phone of BOTH SIDES of the key.
Totally secure.
 

Xgm541

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,092
810
Misplace a key - change the lock. Simple as that. I don't want any of my keys unaccounted for.
 

bigcat318

macrumors 6502
Dec 25, 2007
365
95
Now I'll always be able to get in to apartments I have previously rented, once I make unlimited copies of the keys.
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Now I'll always be able to get in to apartments I have previously rented, once I make unlimited copies of the keys.

Hadn't even thought of that — copies of keys you actually had a legitimate reason to have. I'm sure that landlords and new house owners always change the locks...

Look at everything we've thought of in less than a half hour. Imagine what someone who actually wanted to misuse the service could do.

KeyMe, making America less secure one key at a time.™
 

Xgm541

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,092
810
Now I'll always be able to get in to apartments I have previously rented, once I make unlimited copies of the keys.

I'm pretty sure the landlord of the house's responsibility is to change the locks.

Although I do remember an episode of Breaking Bad where an exterminator company who would get access to the house over a period of a few days to complete their extermination would sell copies of their keys for burglars to rob later.
 

cmwade77

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2008
1,070
1,200
How did this make it into the App store? I thought there was an approval process that would prevent this.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
Hadn't even thought of that — copies of keys you actually had a legitimate reason to have. I'm sure that landlords and new house owners always change their locks...

Look at everything we've thought of in less than a half hour. Imagine what someone who actually wanted to misuse the service could do.

KeyMe, making America less secure one key at a time.™

I think there are many risks here and the comments clearly articulate most if not all of them. I too am concerned. However, to look at it from the other side -- You have to have an account to create a key and that leaves a trail so you should think about it before using this service for illegal purposes.

I would encourage this company to compare the digital fingerprints of each key to others. If one person uploads an identical key to that of an other account, some type of warning flag should go up somewhere in the system. That would help to ensure that mutiple people arent uploading the same key to possibly the same location (leaving some margin here for duplicate keys to duplicate locks in different locations - I assume that happens).

Finally for the Grab and run criminals, the only kiosks to quickly get a key are in New York, so the rest of can rest a little (at least for now).

My bottom line is that this needs a little more thought in terms of security, before this is a good thing. Until then, I stay just a little concerned (if I were in NY maybe a little more).
 

basesnow

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2012
7
0
Now I'll always be able to get in to apartments I have previously rented, once I make unlimited copies of the keys.

How does this make it any easier? you can make a copy of your apartment key at home depot. Same thing. . .
 

sulpfiction

macrumors 68040
Aug 16, 2011
3,069
594
Philadelphia Area
It seems like they've given security a lot of thought:This system is totally secure, as long as

  • the key is on an unremovable keychain (I don't know about you, but ALL my keychains do not allow the removal of keys in any way)
  • the potential thief does not have access to a white piece of paper
  • the potential thief does not have 60 seconds with an iPhone to take a phone of BOTH SIDES of the key.
Totally secure.

Are u kidding? Or getting paid? I want to become a thief today just so I can show u that I DO have access to white paper.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Good gravy!

Any student-level Photoshop operator could take an odd-angle drive-by key photo and make it look to be lying flat on white paper with no keyring! As long as the photo is reasonably sharp and not too edge-on.

And what about people you know (abusive boyfriend, thieving teenage child, drug-addicted friend, babysitter's brother, sociopathic valet) who have regular access to your keys? No Photoshop needed. Sure they could make a mold like in the movies, but this is far easier and would actually work.

The basic idea is good, but key records should be stored locally on your own device(s) and you should take the image in person to a local locksmith. Sell THEM the software/hardware to receive these images encrypted over Bluetooth (or whatever) and make a key without long-term storage, and you have a business model.

Or for long-term storage, you could email yourself or the locksmith a file, but only YOU, in person, could decode. No decoding it online. (Of course if you really want to give the locksmith an image password remotely you could. Save one trip. Still, don't have the locksmith MAIL you the key!)
 

gregbenz

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2012
6
0
Sounds like a great way to sell new locks!

Forget selling keys, if I was a lock-maker, I'd use this as an opportunity to upgrade everyone who owns a tumbler lock to some next-gen lock (electronic, etc) that can't be so easily copied. They must love this app...
 

iMerik

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2011
630
462
Upper Midwest
This seems very risky for all of us that don't even use the app and makes a great case for never leaving a house key on the keys you give to an auto mechanic, etc. How is their verification process secure at all? How do they know that the key I'm replicating is my house key or a stranger's house key? How do they know when my mechanic says he is replicating his house key and proves his identify and address through their two-step verification process that it's not my house key he's replicating?
 

firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
6,258
1,117
Somewhere!
Everyone seems to be worried about the thief. A thief whether they have a key or not is going to get into a house. A simple broken window solves the key problem. I like the concept behind it, but there has to be risk associated with this kind of App.
 

Midphase

macrumors newbie
Jul 21, 2011
24
1
I imagine the potential for liability and lawsuits is pretty high for this company...regardless what their EULA says!
 
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