7 On Your Side tests KeyMe security features

Monday, November 3, 2014
7 On Your Side test KeyMe security features
There's an app that can scan your key and a copy of the key will be mailed to you, but it's an idea that is raising a lot of security concerns.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Making a copy of a key has gone high tech. There is real convenience here, but also concerns over safety so 7 On Your Side looked into it.

You used to have to have a key in hand and then go to a locksmith to get a copy, but not anymore. Now getting a new key made isn't much more difficult than snapping a selfie.

7 On Your Side took a look at the KeyMe app. It offers to change the way we make our keys.

We spoke to KeyMe CEO Greg Marsh. He told us via Skype, "From our app you can actually scan your physical key from your phone and once you've done that, if you want copies, instead of taking an hour out of your day and going to Home Depot, you can order them directly from your app and we will cut and ship perfect copies to you. So it is a super convenient way to get spare keys."

Super convenient, but is there security concerns? In North Beach, I see a group of people sitting down for lunch. Right there, on the table a set of keys. What would keep me from snapping a picture and having a key made?

"I don't know how I feel about that," said one of the diners.

"A casual photo from across the bar is absolutely not going to work," Marsh said. "What you do is you take the key off the key chain and you put it on a blank, white piece of paper, you scan the key from four inches away, you flip it over and you do the same thing. So you really have to have full possession of the key."

So there are security measures. Still we don't take his word. Instead, we take a key and place it on a key ring, but it just barely shows in our scan. Then we put it not on white paper, but on a light-covered surface. We test it to see if we can trick KeyMe into making us a copy. It said our scan was under review and then rejected the scan.

We told Marsh about our test and he said, "I am very happy to hear that. We have some amazing engineers and we have designed that scanning process to insure that your key cannot be scanned surreptitiously from across the room."

And if we were to get a key and white paper there are still hurdles for the bad guys, which brings us back to our table in North Beach.

"If they didn't have any other information about what the keys are for, they can't do a whole lot with it. But it's still really creepy that the world is getting like that these days," Marisa Lin of San Francisco said.

There is a ton of security surrounding this process. If you order online, they have your IP address and credit card number. Key making kiosks are coming to the Bay Area soon. When they are used, you must give a finger print.

The cost about $5 when they send you the key and it's around $20 at the kiosk and a tad more if you take the scan to a local locksmith and have them make the key. You can download your keys now and if you have a lockout you can get one made locally, saving you the cost of calling a locksmith. That could save you about $100.