Introduction: Hacking DVD/Videogame Physical Security

Picture of Hacking DVD/Videogame Physical Security

I warn against the use of this instructable for illegal activity. I have provided this information for learning and entertainment use only. I take no legal or moral responsibilty for your actions.

Now that that is out of the way, some backstory. I started this project when my Dad bought dvd's from a Hollywood Video that was about an hour away, brought them home, and found that the cashier had left in the security bar that keeps you from opening the box. After tearing apart one box, utterly destroying it, i figured out a better way.

This is my first instructable. I will be trying to improve my skills as i continue to produce further articles.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

First off, gather your materials. They are:

A movie with the red thing inside it (image two)

An incredibly strong magnet

A smaller but still strong magnet

The incredibly strong magnet was hard to come by for me. I tried making an electromagnet, but i couldn't get it strong enough. I don't have the money to go out or order from one of those retailers, so i spent two afternoons drilling through an old 3 gig hard drive (i told you it was old). The magnets inside harddrives are amazingly strong, so strong they can chip and break if you let them snap together, so be careful. The smaller magnets i bought at a Storables. Just look for any office supply store and look around the whiteboards.

Step 2: Lets Take a Lookie at That Red Thing

Picture of Lets Take a Lookie at That Red Thing

Though very simple in mechanics, the little red thing (from now on refered to as the lock) is made up of two parts. The first part is a small metal block that is wedged into the end of the lock, which i couldn't get a picture of that wasn't in shadow.
The second part, which is shown, is a thin piece of metal which protrudes away from the bar. This is the actual locking mechanism. It catches on a lip of the case, thereby making it difficult to remove.

Step 3: Let's Crack This Baby Open

Picture of Let's Crack This Baby Open

When you place the smaller magnets on the lock, the piece of metal is pulled back so it is flat with the lock, allowing you to slide it out. Therefore, placing the magnet is on the side of the box is our first step.

The second step is to push down on the actual lock. I do this because some times the small piece of metal gets lodged in the case from previous people trying to pull the lock out. Pushing it back into the case allows the magnet to pull the metal bar flush with the lock.

The third step is to place the strong magnet onto the lock, covering it from view. Try to slide the strong magnet onto the lockface, as pulling on the lock before the stronger magnet has its full grip can conteract step two. This part can be tricky, depending on how powerful the magnet is, as the smaller magnet is attracted to the larger magnet and often becomes unattached from the case. Use both hands during this process.

Pull on the strong magnet, thus removing the lock. Be careful as the smaller magnets will fall off, and i assume you either dont want to spend more money or search around for it. Make sure you can catch it.

Step 4: Ending Notes

Picture of Ending Notes

So there you have it folks. Simple. Easy. My next project is hopefully going to be a little more complicated: getting into those full-covering anti-theft cases.

One note before you try this. Using the magnet can cause some slight stretching of the plastic cover on the dvds. This damage is minimal, so i would still recomend this method, but if you have a problem with imperfections, be warned.

I again warn against the use of this instructable for illegal activity. I have provided this information for learning and entertainment use only. I take no legal or moral responsibilty for your actions.


cheebase (author)2016-10-07

Well, the magnet trick didn't work, but a utility knife did. The case opened up at once. The DVD could not be popped out until the red plastic that prevents the DVD holder to be pushed down enough was not pulled out. No mess.

mel.gribbleduffy (author)2015-01-06

My magnets dont stick to the case! Is there a type of dvd lock that does not use metal? Say an all plastic lock? Any ideas how to open one like that? I have used several types of magnets. I considered taking the dvd back to Target but i bought it 2 weeks ago and no longer have the reciept. Very annoyed as my children are hassling me to watch it! Can you please help?

hornbadoing (author)2008-08-06

with a magnet

Redgerr (author)hornbadoing2010-07-08


RocketManDave (author)2009-07-27

I made a tiny tear on my Bourne Ultimatum box and then looked for advice, lo and behold an instructable on this very subject ;) I only needed two dinky little magnets, the type you use to attach a flashing badge bought at a concert/gig. Really amazed it was that simple to disable a disk lock - Cheers!

matstermind (author)2008-05-14

putting the magnets that close to a CD/DVD could erase the data sored on that disk.

matstermind (author)matstermind2009-03-27

I meant stored, typo

electriczap4 (author)matstermind2009-07-02

Possibly, but you must consider the way data is stored on a CD. It is "burnt" in with a laser, and the grooves it cause are read by another laser. Hard drives use magnetism to store data (hence the higher amount of data possible), making them vulnerable to a magnet. I'm gonna have to take an old DVD and magnetize it to see if I still have that data. Will update you with it.

slyfox117 (author)matstermind2008-05-14

they won't. CD's aren't like the old floppy disks, and won't be erased by magnetics. They do mess with hard drives because hard drives use magnetics to move the disc-reader head around.

nathan42100 (author)slyfox1172008-05-25

it could if you run it very fast back and forth over it, but this won't. Just like a hard drive.

hintss (author)nathan421002009-06-27

no, optical disks (CD, DVD, MagnetoFloptical, BluRay, HD DVD, and holographic disks) are affected by magnets, ever. The drives may be affected, but the disks won't.

matstermind (author)slyfox1172008-05-15

Ok thanks for making that clear

slyfox117 (author)matstermind2008-05-15

no problem! hope you found it useful

hornbadoing (author)2008-08-06

haha shoot ink thats so funny lol

hintss (author)hornbadoing2009-06-27

Yes, now be serious

Gage987 (author)2008-07-09

hey next somewon should make an instrucatable on how to take those tan lump things on clothes like at goodys because ive been told by my mom that screwing with them makes them shoot ink

abadfart (author)Gage9872008-09-15

well if you can get it out of the store you put it in the freezer overnight then cut it off with sharp scisers

hintss (author)abadfart2009-06-27

Or wire cutters.

Gage987 (author)abadfart2008-10-01

good idea

junits15 (author)Gage9872008-12-09

actully those can be opened with magnets also, they do indeed spurt ink, kindof thike the thngs that they up in money, anyway put the two strong magnets on either side of the smaller peice, keep moving the magnets until it slide out do it gently though, so you dont break the ink tubes.

tron9000 (author)2009-05-08

I bought a DVD in super market and went through the self service checkout. got home and found out there was one of these tags on it. If, I'd have know this is how to remove them, I would still have my DVD which is now lost amoungst all the others as it has no case now, due to me and a pair of tin snips!

cdf12345 (author)2006-12-17

If you point a loaded gun at someone then pull the trigger, you can effectively end their existence. This is for informational purposes only. If someone gets shot in the next 24 hours because they read this. I've love to see them come after me. See there's a little think called freedom of speech. Protects the exchange of thoughts and ideas. Even those you dislike.

land_of_kansas (author)cdf123452006-12-19

Guns don't kill people!! People with mustaches kill people!!!

_soapy_ (author)land_of_kansas2009-02-08

No, you fool, it's postal workers - they just often happen to have 'tashes.

Ominous (author)2008-04-06

Bought a dvd from Zavvi (virgin) the other day and had to rip the box open :( [The shop is 40mins away and a £6.50 train ticket ] This Instructable has just as much right to be here as any other. I wish i had read it earlier.

Coraki (author)2007-12-08

My bf bought me an early christmas present and the cashier at Hollywood vid. forgot to take off the security lock. After tearing it partially apart and still not being able to get the dvd out, I decided to look for a better way. This was the first site I found posted about it. Though I didn't have two magnets I used a magent that is used to pick-up screws and nuts that fall on the ground. I placed it on the lock and heard a "pop" and while still holding the magnet on the back, I pulled the lock out surprisingly easily. I had already tore it open and cut part of the plastic off the back, so next I'll just try the magnet alone and see if I get the same result. Thanks for the info.

tylermenezes (author)2007-09-13

mrmath: I can think of one non-thievery use right now. A while ago I rented a movie from a certain movie store. When I got it home, it had an antitheft devive on it. If I had known how to do this and had some magnets nearby I would have saved myself a 15 minute trip back to the store. This is implausible to do in a store anyways.If they didn't notice you then they're idiots.

CaffeineHouse (author)2007-07-27

did you even read the instructable at ALL? he specifically said that he bought the DVD's, sure, you could say he's lying, but just because something could be used to break the law doesn't mean it has "no educational value".

lemonie (author)2007-02-12

Standard practice in the UK is to leave the boxes empty & keep the discs behind the counter. One can contemplate the relative merits of the two systems, but if you can steal the box, you can get the disc out one way or another. What is the point in relasing the lock when it's a steal? Otherwise for spotty minimum wage employee errors, see above. Appreciate the information on how these locks work, but of what use is it, how do you expect this knowledge to be used?

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-03-14

The locks often trigger the alarm if you walk out with them.

lemonie (author)Weissensteinburg2007-03-14

I'm working from: "...brought them home, and found that the cashier had left in the security bar that keeps you from opening the box." -i.e. it got past the alarm, with the lock on. L

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-03-14

right, some stores don't have an alarm, some do

The red bars that I found on my DVDs* had a recess in them that could accommodate those little white sticky alarm tags that trigger the induction loops at the doors.

As an aside, having worked in a shop, those tags are only stuck to high-value items of course, and they are entirely dependent on shop-staff sticking them on. Invariably some stock is missed because of human error.

*legally purchased mrmath....

slyfox117 (author)lemonie2007-03-14

i expect this to be used against spotty minimum wage employee errors.

Jerster72 (author)2007-05-30

Pretty sweet! I actually have never had this problem with my dvds or games but now im prepared :P

Noaksey (author)2007-05-08

I have had these tags left in on various DVDs I have BOUGHT on several occasions. The first one I had, I broke the case because I didn't know how to open it. I took the DVD (and another that still had the tag in) back to the store. I had pretty much ruined the case trying to open it, and the store still changed it, as they should. At best it's an annoying inconvenience when these things get left in, supposing you can go back to the store. I got one again recently, couldn't watch the DVD when I got home, and couldn't easily get back to the store this time either. I was pretty pissed off, given i'd paid good money for it. As usual, law abiding citizens suffer, due to the criminal fraternity and how some companies 'deal' with crime. Thanks for the info slyfox117, just got to get some magnets now!

adamazing (author)2007-05-06

" to do something that has no ues except to steal..."

You are wrong. On at least two occasions I've bought DVDs and had to deal with these stupid things. I did the same thing he did, the first one was wrenched and pried, the second was removed with the aid of a magnet and a little more finesse. I just wish that I'd written an instructable to help other people who had the misfortune to be served by a hungover teen at HMV.

Criminals already know how to do all this and more! By not sharing this information, the only people you harm are non-criminals.

Now, if he were teaching people how to line a bag with aluminium foil to prevent the security induction loops at the door of "Hollywood Video" from detecting that you'd filled it with DVDs...that would be another matter!

pappyld04 (author)2007-05-02

Tis not information that kills, it's the application.

EcoNerd (author)2007-04-29

well i just got into one, but i didn't have a magnet, so i opened one end of the case and hooked the tweezers under the edge of the disk and popped it out with a ruler and slid it out the end of the case. once it was out it was easy to get the case open, i jamed the blunt end of a pair of teasers in there and yanked it open, then the little thing just slid out the end with a little persuasion with my fingers. and there is little damage to the case, its still usable, but its worse than it would be cos i didn't know how to get into it when i started, now i do it wont be so bad the next time.

Punkguyta (author)2007-04-24

And then before you know it, stores will have to keep everything behind glass cases, don't screw it up for other's that steal once in a blue moon. lol..

infernoii (author)2007-04-21

Just in case you are still out there listening. Your position would promote what is known as "censorship." So the government thinks it is dangerous for you know about opening a DVD that you are not supposed to today. Maybe they think that you shouldn't see a particular TV program tomorrow. We have already gone through a period of censorship when all of the supposed "communists" in our country were put on trial because they were "dangerous" to our society. If information is to be censored, who censors the censors? Promoting ignorance is not a good position to take. I am sure with your passion you could find something less trivial to complain about. On a personal note, I came home from Hollywood video today with a red tag still in the box. I tried the above magnet scheme to no avail. I suppose that I will now be forced to pollute the environment and drive back to Hollywood Video to get the red tag removed. : )

mrmath (author)infernoii2007-04-21

As I understand it, and I've been known to be wrong on occation, censorship is when the goverment doesn't allow certain topics to be discussed. Not being allowed to talk bad about the government in Cuba would be censorship.

Even then, there are exceptions. For example, you can't talk about making bombs in an airport. The goverment will stop you. That's not censorship (IMO), because of the safty concerns.

Some might say that censorship is also anyone in power stopping talk about a topic they don't like. For example British Airways recently blurred out the logo of Virgin Atlantic in the version of a Bond movie they are showing on their flights.

Again, there are exceptions to this. Removing a post on a website that is clearly about something illegal in order to protect themselves, and their users, is not censorship.

Again, I'm not trying to reopen the debate on the legal or illegal uses of the information in this post. Let's say, for arguments sake, someone posted an instructable about how to get an ATM to give you extra money without taking it out of your account. That activity would clearly be illegal. It wouldn't be censorship for the powers that be here at instructables to remove it. It would be protecting themselves.

On the other hand, removing a post because it involves K'Nex would be censorship. I don't like the posts about K'Nex, and if I posted at the bottom of a comment on a K'Nex thread "I hate K'Nex posts. I hope this gets deleted" that would be an attempt at censorship, or at least requesting/endorsing it.

All that said, what is it with Hollywood Video that they can't remember to take these things off. I mean, they sell DVD's all day long, right? It must cost them money to replace the ones the forget to take off. Not to mention the customers they lose over it. It's not that hard, people.

Bman8 (author)2007-04-18

that is wierd.....

RobbyTheSheef (author)2007-02-04

My brother used to work at Blockbuster, I could be wrong, but when people took home movies and they forgot to take out the lock, and people called all pissy, they told the person to use a box cutter or razor to CAREFULLY cut down the right side if the box on the front. They won't charge you for it, because its their fault and it's probably worth 3 cents. If this doesn't work and you slice your DVD, not my fault. Maybe I'll experiment and make my first instructable on said concept.

tweedc4 (author)RobbyTheSheef2007-04-09

This happened to me yesterday, rented two DVDs from Blockbuster and they forgot to take off the yellow tags. Called them when I got home and they advised carefully cracking open the spine (used a pair of sharp scissors) and explain when returning them. Found this site with hopes of opening the case in an easier way but ended up doing as advised.

slyfox117 (author)RobbyTheSheef2007-02-04

Right from which direction? Are they asking you to cut the dvd case open?

RobbyTheSheef (author)slyfox1172007-02-05

Right hand side of the front, VERY close to the edge. And yes, they are. I'm talking about only rentals. When you return it you just tell them what happened and return the disk, they replace the case at no charge.

A6TonHampster (author)2007-04-07

One Phrase "Freedom Of Information Act" That's not to say though that your knowledge of some things wont have repercussioins. You can get on govornment wedsites, and learn the US military way of bombs, but you'll be "black-listed" w/ the FBI, CIA, and the IBA. Anything happens in your area, they're commin' to your door, but you still have the freedom to access the information.

slyfox117 (author)A6TonHampster2007-04-08

Are you seriously comparing my instructable to a website that teaches you how to make an explosive? This isn't the Anarchist's Handbook.

mrmath (author)A6TonHampster2007-04-07

I'm not out to rekindle the argument I started before with this post, but I have to say this. The Freedom of Information Act is a law that has a very specific use. That use is to get certain pieces of information from the government. Since this information is not from the government, or about the government, it does not have anything to do with the Freedom of Information Act.

Again, this has nothing to do with my previous or current opinions about this particular instructable, and I don't want to start that all over again. I'm just out to point out what the Freedom of Information act actually is all about.

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