Considering that this lock model is already used by millions of people, including government agencies and entire residential communities, this is a very serious issue.
Consider the Orthodox Jewish community, in which almost everyone relies on the Simplex locks. The reason for the popularity is the Sabbath, of which some religious laws prohibit them from carrying items out of their home, such as keys, and activating electronic devices on Saturdays. Since the Simplex lock is key-less and doesn’t use electricity, it is the perfect and obvious choice for the community.
Now imagine that a thief finds out about the fact that the entire community relies on a lock which can be opened by a simple earth magnet in a matter of seconds. Not only does this jeopardize the entire purpose of having the lock, it also makes people even more vulnerable as they have a false perception of security.
So how did the lock’s manufacturer, Kaba, respond to this? They simply tried to smooth over the issue as much as possible so that they didn’t lose any credibility and reputation. And no, by smooth over we don’t mean they offered to replace or fix everyone’s locks or even warn their customers. Instead, they simply chose to manufacture an updated version of the lock that doesn’t have the magnetic vulnerability; they then told customers that this is a more secure version.
And when directly asked about the magnetic vulnerability the company tried to deny its own mistake, using rationale such as ”all locks can be breached,” and that “it never stated that the lock was impossible to breach.” While it is true that all locks can be breached in one way or another with the right tools, a regular person with no prior locksmith experience and a cheap earth magnet (which can be bought for under $50) should not be able to bypass the lock in a few minutes, especially in a way that is silent, covert, and leaves no signs of tampering.
To protect the people, communities, businesses, and agencies that rely on these locks, we chose not to include in this article the exact technique for the magnet attack, but we do urge everyone to replace their locks as soon as possible if they value their privacy, security, and possessions.
As for the class action lawsuit against Kaba, it is still in progress, and hopefully a conclusion is reached where all the people with the faulty locks either get their money back, get the new version of the lock, or at the very least get a public apology from the company.