At a conference in New York., a group of hackers released files that allows anyone with a 3D printer to produce the eighth and last TSA master key (TSA approved luggage locks allow TSA and other luggage security personnel to unlock and inspect your bags using master keys).
In 2014, the Washington Post inadvertently published an article which included a high resolution photo of all seven Travel Sentry TSA master keys from which someone was able to digitally recreate the keys, and then share the files.
The hackers have said that the purpose of the project was not to scare people but to highlight the dangers of "government key escrow", a data security measure in which a third party is trusted with a cryptographic key that they may only use with the authorization of the entrusting agency. Nevertheless, the net result of their move was that anyone with a 3D printed key could have access to your luggage,
What to Do?
Security experts have long touted that, even before the breech, TSA locks do not fully protect your belongings. Matt Blaze (University of PA computer science professor) told Wired that he sometimes picks his own TSA locks as it's faster than locating his keys.
security consultant Chris McGoey told the Intercept that “TSA locks on luggage [are] only one step above having no lock at all -- especially on soft-sided luggage”
So we recommend you continue using TSA-locks, but put high-valued items in your carry-on or arrange to have them shipped via an insured carrier (e,g, FedEx, UPS).
What Are TSA Locks?
In the United States the TSA requires access to luggage without the passenger being present; to allow travelers to secure their luggage they have accepted certain locks which the TSA can open and relock. to avoid a forced (lock-breaking) action.
Locks with the Travel Sentry identifying mark (red diamond) are TSA-accepted.
Some TSA accepted locks feature an indicator which will appear red if opened by a master key, so the owner will know that their bag has been accessed.