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Pitt unlocks new Security Engineering Laboratory at Benedum Hall

PITTSBURGH (February 7, 2018) ... Mechanical and electronic locks, access control systems, and alarms often form the first defense in the protection of people, facilities assets and critical information. An in-depth understanding of the design fundamentals of these various systems and their potential design vulnerabilities is critical for engineering graduates, especially when employed by lock and security hardware manufacturers and government agencies.

The integration of IT, access control, and locking systems by commercial, educational, and government facilities makes it imperative that graduate engineers have the requisite knowledge to assess the multiple issues that can affect the internal security of their organizations if they have such responsibilities. Unfortunately, most mechanical engineering programs teach students how to design different products and systems, but not how to break them. The two disciplines are interrelated and of equal importance, and one cannot exist without the other.  

Investigative Law Offices recently announced the funding and development of the Pitt Security Engineering Lab and the sponsorship and co-instruction of the Product Realization and Design course at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. Clients of Security Labs will provide real-world security projects for students to work on and develop, thereby teaching theories and practical knowledge in the design and defeat of various security systems, both cyber and physical.

The lab, located in Benedum Hall of Engineering on the Pitt campus, will allow students a hands-on environment with the appropriate equipment and resources to actively work on different locking mechanisms and systems and develop solutions and products to real-world problems for lock and security hardware manufacturers. Students who participate in the course will use the lab to develop solutions for their assigned projects.

“Many locks now incorporate sophisticated electronics that also utilize RFID, NFC and Bluetooth wireless technologies,” noted Marc Tobias, company founder. “Security Labs is collaborating with a digital security laboratory that specializes in IOT analysis so that their expertise can assist students to gain an in-depth understanding of the methodology of compromising interconnected and electronic credential-based devices and systems.”

The Pitt Security Engineering Lab will be open to all students that participate in the elective course taught by Professor Rick Winter, Mr. Tobias, and Tobias Bluzmanis. Certain projects, because of their impact upon the security of commercial and government facilities, will require registration to access the lab, and the execution of an NDA and in some cases, an assignment of any potential IP.

Investigative Law offices and its Security Lab has provided security consulting services to many of the largest lock and security hardware manufacturers in the world for more than twenty years. Messrs. Tobias and Bluzmanis are recognized as physical security experts for locks, on a global basis. Their responsibility is to analyze a variety of locks, safes, and security systems for vulnerabilities that would allow them to be attacked covertly and often opened in seconds. The development of secure hardware and software that protects every sector of society is complicated and encompasses sophisticated issues of engineering, design, manufacturing, intellectual property, regulatory, Standards, liability, and complex legal issues.

Tobias and Bluzmanis have completed hundreds of investigations for their clients that resulted in the compromise of the most sophisticated locking systems. They have lectured throughout the world at universities, law enforcement agencies, and at DefCon and similar conferences. Mr. Tobias has authored seven books and has received nine U.S. patents relating to lock design and bypass, while Mr. Bluzmanis holds five patents and is co-author of the book “Open in Thirty Seconds.” He has been a practicing locksmith for thirty-five years.

For more information email securitylabs@pitt.edu, or Professor Rick Winter at EWINTER@pitt.edu.


Contact: Paul Kovach