Six Crazy Hacks That Will Change the Way You See Your World

To protect yourself and your home from intruders, sometimes you have to think like a thief. Hacking The System hosts Brian and Jason take you inside the mind of a hacker, teaching you tricks to beat thieves at their own game. 

Hey guys: Brian Brushwood and Jason Murphy here, from Hacking the System, premiering on Nat Geo tonight. We’ve assembled a list of our favorite, most mind-bending lifehacks. These are tidbits that will blow your mind and redefine how you see the world:

Hacking The System camera

1. Convert a disposable camera into a functional taser.

Yep. You read that right. Next time you’re at a wedding and your family’s clicking away with cheap, disposable cameras… just remember that with two screws, some wire, and a bit of solder, you get a nasty, powerful taser:

So while the bride and groom are clumsily dancing… you can be preparing to defend yourself against a drunken cousin Eddie.



Hacking The System Can

2. Lost your key or forget your combination? Here’s how to open a padlock using just a soda can.

We lock up our bikes, lockers, and valuables with padlocks… Without the key or combination, everything’s safe, right?

Well, relatively safe. I mean, sure: maybe with some bolt cutters, an angle grinder, or a spare T-1000 you could rip it off. But it’s not like padlocks can be defeated with random trash laying around…



Hacking The System USB

3. Why you should never, ever plug in strange USB drives (or, how to compromise a computer in less than 20 seconds).

This is our pal Darren’s USB ‘rubber ducky.’ It looks like a USB thumb drive and might even be labeled with something tasty, like ‘salaries.xls’. In fact, it’s actually a USB keyboard able to type thousands of pre-written commands in seconds.

Just 20 seconds after plugging it in to see what you can find, your entire system is compromised, and you’re no longer in control.

Remind me to stop using USB anythings. Forever.



Hacking The System Pick

4. Make homemade lock picks out of old butter knives.

Anyone can order lock picks and an instructional manual off of the internet, but Hacking the System loves to be more resourceful than that. In keeping with the DIY ethos, why not make something in your garage? You don’t have to have something that’s easily recognizable as a common thief’s tool. Make it yourself with a grinder and some kitchen utensils.

Spread some delightful jam and then minutes later, break into your storage shed! Just don’t leave any Smuckers on the door. That’s a dead giveaway.



Hacking The System Bump Key

5. How to make your own Bump Keys:

Let’s say you’re someone who is short on patience. Or maybe you don’t have a surgeons touch. Or let’s be honest – you’re just awful at picking locks.

Bump keys are your answer. This method requires less finesse than your traditional lock picks, but also less brute force than, say, kicking in the front door. It takes only seconds and works almost as well as having an actual key to the place you’re trying to get into. In fact, it works on 90% of American household locks. Luckily for homeowners, the process of lock bumping is a bit noisy.



6. Lock yourself out of your car? Get back in… using a piece of string.

If you’re prone to locking your keys in your car, you might want to consider making sneakers your footwear of choice. After all, a shoe string can come in handy next time you lock yourself out.

Don’t forget to check out our special, Hacking the System on Thursday, Feb. 27th at 9P!


For 15 years, Brian Brushwood has made a career out of social manipulation and thinking like a criminal. He’s performed incredible tricks, mastered harrowing stunts as a bizarre magician, and amassed a lot of dangerous knowledge along the way. Brian knows the tools of scientists and spies, crooks and con artists, and now, he’s using this encyclopedia of secret data to help you get the upper hand.

Brian Brushwood has earned a reputation as the “Internet’s mischief maker,” and has even been called “evil MacGyver,” due to his ability to hack household objects in unheard of ways. He’s revealing how to avoid people who cheat the system, and showing the legal tips, tricks, and shortcuts to get ahead in life – one hack at a time.


  1. Wodenson
    February 28, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Really nice to see a show that makes sure all of the tips work for real. Also, to then go through the effort of showing more detail on how you can do the hacks yourself is pretty cool of them.

  2. Shorty
    Big D
    March 1, 2014, 10:44 pm

    Your house burglary segment says you should cause a distraction and run out of the house in case of an intruder. What are you, a flaming liberal that thinks the police are going to protect you? Get a damn gun and blow the assholes away. Just remember, when seconds count, the police will be there in minutes (if you’re lucky).

  3. Dave
    March 6, 2014, 5:48 pm

    @Shorty yea because nothing ever goes wrong when you try and shoot someone

  4. MegaVortex
    March 6, 2014, 9:10 pm

    So awesome!!!!

  5. MegaVortex
    March 6, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Yea, like they would actually say on TV to kill people. Come on man, you know how the politics of TV work. They did it so that everything could get on the air. Otherwise you would have never seen the show. I doubt anyone on the show would say that you shouldn’t be able to defend your own home.

  6. mathew holman
    July 1, 2014, 4:12 pm

    My comment is about hacking the system; to the star of the show kudos. it seems you have some pretty cool hacks for the system but some of your hacks that u couldn’t get to work do actually work like changing traffic lights by hand.also when u speed the traffic light up on our motor cycle by putting ur bike over the sensor…that’s a half hack ur stopping on the wrong one. That’s all the info I’m giving up . if u want more info find me that’s not too hard… Sincerely,
    silence did bad…;-)

  7. mathew holman
    July 25, 2014, 10:11 am

    Brian and Jason from the show: please read this .!first off , ur show is great and love the concept. Ur hacks are good . information or the lack there of leaves some inability to perfect said hack .for the record , traffic lights are sped up 3 different ways that all change the traffic light faster than ur time also some lights can be changed 3 lights ahead depending on the layout of the street and the desired direction of travel can dictate how many lights change. Multiple lights change when the sensors in the ground are told ur expected projection is a straight Brian and Jason I’m not hard to find so let’s alleviate the air and opportunity between us and come together information sharring…..until then ur devoted unbiased fan….

  8. mathew holman
    July 25, 2014, 10:32 am

    In response to other comments on here..get real shorty ignorance or should I say lack of wealth of information could be the demise of our great super power u.s.a. we can’t run outside screaming for help and expect police to help immediately but it would wake up neighbors and neighbors are witnesses the arch enemy of the criminal.secondly let’s take ur solution and analyze it. Just get a gun as ur cure all for break ins is ludacrious. Do u know that if a real break in artist was planning on getting in to rob you , he’s not gonna break a window and startle u at night to reach for ur gun. He’s gonna wait til ur playing rackette ball or shuttle cock , or with ur friends bragging abut how macho men u are and how many guns u have to be mMr. Macho alpha while u smoke cigars at ur buddy’s poker game. So what do u do when u get home from whatever and he or she is sitting in ur living room with ur new block auto 45 reading Eugene fields drinking from ur 30year old malt scotch.then what would u do. You also called Brian and Jason flamming liberals so what would you be sir and after reading what I said. What would be ur answer and don’t say some bull crap out of a die hard Bruce Willis movie. Snap into the real world or up become like a slim-jim oooooooo….yeeeeaaaahhhh….have an enlightened dayO:-)

  9. mathew holman
    July 25, 2014, 10:39 am

    Shorty or big D. Previous commenter please remember that any persons greatest fault is the inability to recognize that fault leading to ones eventual detriment. Real experience arent taught at ur local arma is thought in the trenches of life not in a book or class .O:-) Carl Jung 1870s – 1961…