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Fact or Fiction: Are the Pulse-Pounding Security Breaches in Movies Possible in Real Life?


Dec 06, 2018

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If you only went by what you learned from action movies, you would be forgiven for thinking the world is a highly dangerous place, just on the brink of total destruction (preferably with a cool CGI explosion). Realistic or not, much of our knowledge is at least partially influenced by what we see on film. In the area of home safety, this means there’s an endless supply of trained supervillains lurking in the shadows, capable of bypassing any and all security measures to steal our treasures (or more likely the passports and emergency cash we keep tucked away). But how much of these stylized scenes are rooted in fact?


  1. Can you fool an iris scan? When you really need to keep something safe in the movies, you go beyond plain locks and fingerprints and instead focus on the eyes. Ideally a person standing in front of a vault would wait patiently for a laser-type machine to scan their face and only then would a secure door open. In reality, this theory was put to the test last year when Samsung launched their own smartphone iris scanner feature, providing an alternate to unlocking through fingerprint identification. Unfortunately hackers were able to circumvent the system using a high-quality photo of the owner’s eye under a contact lens.

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  2. Can you crack a safe? Kind of. Though films get the general method correct – listening through the door with a stethoscope or drilling a small hole – the actual practice is significantly more difficult. Protection mechanisms are also in place to prevent the successful use of brute force. If you need to break into a safe (assuming it’s your own), it’s best to call a locksmith and fork out the hefty fee.
  3. Can you tunnel into a building? Though it’s remarkably easy on screen, building an underground path to lead you directly inside a secure room is probably the hardest method of entry. Soil structure, water levels and oh yeah, piles upon piles of displaced dirt are all factors that real life bandits would have to quietly battle on their quest to venture through a homemade passageway. With the almost-certain occurrence of cave-ins or collapse, this scenario is unlikely to work.

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  4. Can you pick a lock with a bobby pin? This is one of the most common tricks performed effortlessly on screen. Whether locked out of a house or trying to break in, a heavy deadbolt is no match for a tiny hair pin. The verdict? Surprisingly…yes. Though the task is much easier with a sturdier tool, basic home locks designed for front doors have fairly simple mechanisms. There are a few springs and pins to manipulate but the structure is identical in nearly all locks. Yikes!
  5. Can you bypass a motion detector? If picking a lock is a breeze, fooling a complex sensor is a gale force wind. Still, some of the most suspenseful action sequences involve a hero or villain attempting this feat. Whether it’s Cameron Diaz doing backflips in Charlie’s Angels or the breakdancing villain in Oceans 12, there’s no shortage of ways to steal heavily guarded prizes by stylishly waltzing past sophisticated alarms. In reality, the truck-sized blind spots and predictable detection patterns found on film rarely exist in real life.

    Though no one piece of security is infallible, the combination of digital locks, cameras and sensitive motion detectors make it unlikely you can dance your way past detection – no matter how snazzy the moves. To protect yourself against villains and super spies,
    call 1-866-282-3331 or visit


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