High-security electronic safes can be hacked through power and timing analysis
Some consumer safes protected with electronic locks are quite easy to hack using basic techniques. Others, though, like those made to store guns, are designed to resist expert manipulation.
However, one hacker demonstrated at the DEF CON security conference Friday that even high-security rated electronic safe locks are susceptible to side-channel attacks typically used against cryptosystems.
Side-channel attacks involve techniques like analyzing power fluctuations and variations in the time it takes operations to complete on an electronic device. By monitoring these values when the system checks the user’s input against a stored value, attackers can incrementally recover encryption keys or, in the case of electronic safe locks, the correct access code.