The pursuit of lock-picking is as old as the lock, which is itself as old as civilization. But in the entire history of the world, there was only one brief moment, lasting about 70 years, where you could put something under lock and key—a chest, a safe, your home—and have complete, unwavering certainty that no intruder could get to it. This is a feeling that security experts call “perfect security.” Since we lost perfect security in the 1850s, it has remained elusive. Despite tremendous leaps forward in security technology, we have never been able to get perfect security back.

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