The Illusion Of Security

Aug. 7, 2015

I can honestly say when I started working on this issue of Automatic Merchandiser, I was happily naive. Each night I’d lock my house doors secure in the knowledge that it would be difficult or nearly impossible for anyone to overcome those locks without a key. Oh, how ignorant I was.

As I did research and interviewed lock manufacturers, it became clear just how easy it would be to break into my home. Potential thieves need only snap a picture of the front and back of my house key, then send those photos away to a Website offering key production with a 3D printer. I found a video describing how to make and use something called a bump key, which could also be named a skeleton key because it allows entry into any standard door lock that uses a flat key.

I began feeling a bit paranoid. I started thinking about what was in my house — What do I have that would motivate someone to break-in? Not a great deal. However, that is not the case for vending operators. There are hundreds of dollars in each vending machine with countless assets in the warehouse, trucks and offices. Vending machines at least have an advantage. Most operators install tubular locks, which make it more difficult to reproduce a key using photographs.

Reasonable security

Vandalism and theft continue to be issues and the Internet’s endless “how to” videos and articles make it even easier to learn how to overcome any lock. What then is the answer?

I’m not sure there is one. Acceptance, maybe. It’s important, however, to buy quality locks and stay vigilant to protect yourself as much as you can. Practice other security tips as well, many of which are discussed in the article on page 12.

Beyond that, know that theft might happen at any time. It’s a fact of life. However, you never have to be a victim without a course of action. Once you identify a problem or potential problem, it’s time to contact a security professional and see what kind of enhanced lock they can offer in order to address the specific issue. It might be a drill resistant lock face or electronic lock that denies entry after a certain point in time. There are lots of options out there, for vending machines as well as other facilities.

I really had to come to terms with my illusion of security — something operators must do as well. We are only as secure as the locks we use make us feel and the honesty of the people that surround us. Vending crime continues to happen, but luckily locks continue to evolve to thwart these attacks.