A Hackers Fascination with Lock-Picking
It's human nature to wonder how things work. As children we're in a constant state of curiosity, we began as toddlers presented with the task of correctly placing geometrically shaped pegs into their corresponding holes. It is here where we first learn every object has it proper place. As we get older our inquiring mind becomes obsessed with investigating how things work. We become amateur surgeons, dissecting the toaster or the television, carefully examining its parts, before attempting to reconstruct it's in proper working order.
Many of us hackers found ourselves romanced into hacking by our unyielding thirst to understand computers and technology. We found ourselves reinvigorated with the curiosity of our childhood, enthralled, with the fact that we were finally being presented with a subject whose level of complexity perfectly challenged our enthusiastic inquisitiveness. Seems only natural that hackers would be interested in locks and physical security. Lock-picking is essentially the kinesthetic equivalent of hacking. As hackers, we are aware of the vulnerabilities of the cyber securities enacted to protect our virtual valuables. Locksmiths are equally aware of the vulnerabilities within the physical securities we've constructed to protect our tangible valuables. It's at this junction of security and vulnerability where the two crafts of find common ground.
The second level on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is security. Perhaps the most indicative detail of human history that proves Maslow correct is the consistent presence of locks dating back to the earliest civilizations. If one were to follow the evolution of locks, one would immediately notice that over time locks have become increasingly more complex. I would formally wonder what was the catalyst that spurred the evolution of locks, only to find the answer staring at me in the mirror. Hackers! The first hackers where the crafty fellows who figured out how to pick locks. Motives aside, their intuitiveness was commendable to say the least, and essentially built the tradition to which we all belong.
There is some inherent pleasure for hacker to successfully pick a lock, more so than that of a person of probably any other background. I would compare it to the pleasure an architect might get from building a bird house from scratch. There is something viscerally satisfying about mechanical completion of task normally done mentally or virtually. Even if hackers take on lock-picking may always remain on a hobbyist level, it still strengthens our understanding of physical security and provides a refreshing feeling of accomplishment when you feel the pins in the lock meet the sheer line and the lock turns and opens.