Mr. Locksmith discovers Major Security Flaw in Popular Fire Safe.

You thought you were Secure, but these common Safes can be opened in 1 second

SentrySafe, the world’s leading safe manufacturer, recently released a new electronic fire safe with a major security flaw. The electronic fire safe can be opened in less than 1 second using rare earth magnets.

Terry Whin-Yates, master locksmith and owner of Mr. Locksmith, discovered the security flaw several weeks ago. In partnership with Marc Tobias and Forbes Magazine, Terry was able to reproduce the flaw and bring the issue forward to the public.

To test the flaw, Terry  purchased a new SentrySafe fire safe (model # SFW123FTC). These safes, sold at major office supply and hardware stores, are designed to protect their contents from fire. Terry was able to open the safe in less than a minute, and quickly taught Marc Tobias and others how to open the safe just as fast.

Marc Tobias stated that, “We did it silently, instantly and without any evidence of entry. You don’t need any special skills to do it. All you need is a rare-earth magnet.”

Where does the flaw come from?

SentrySafe worked so hard to design the perfect Fire Safe that they forgot the basic principles of a safe –  safety. The security flaw in their elecetronic Fire Safes comes from the critical locking component of the safe – the solenoid.

Solenoids are simple coils with a metal pin through the centre, which locks or unlocks the safe as the coil moves. Solenoids are commonplace to safe manufacturers and have well known vulnerabilities. Safes with solenoid coils can be easily opened with magnets, or a strong shock or vibration. SentrySafe designed its solenoid so that it could not be vibrated open, but it forgot to design a check for magnetism.

By attacking the solenoid with a magnet, the pin in the center of the solenoid can be activated from outside of the safe, allowing the bolt to be moved to the unlocked position.

SentrySafe has stated that “a burglar would have to know how to open the safe and have the requisite-strength magnet.” They are working on a way to fix it by sending out an upgrade kit, however; it is likely that they will end up replacing the current models with a different generation that corrects the fundamental design flaw that makes it so vulnerable.

SentrySafe issued the following statement:

In the four years this one line of SentrySafe electronic fire safe has been produced, the company has never received any report that any safe has ever been unlawfully compromised by any type of magnet. This particular line of electronic fire/water safe primarily offers consumers protection against fire and water and we offer a full range of other products with escalating levels of performance to meet consumers’ security needs.

Without locksmith training, knowledge of safe designs, experience handling and transporting dangerous rare-earth magnets, and the ability to locate this particular line of safe in a home or business, we believe it would be realistically very difficult, if not impossible for the average person to unlawfully access and manipulate this line of fire/water electronic safe.

Upon learning that this one product line could be vulnerable to manipulation by a locksmith using an industrial-strength rare-earth magnet, the company immediately tested its other electronic products. Based on our findings, we determined that no other SentrySafe line or product is vulnerable to this potential magnetic manipulation.  

Mr. Locksmith safe VIN

To learn if your safe is affected by this flaw, visit the SentrySafe recall page.





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