Sunday, May 9, 2010

Master Lock Responds to Lock Bumping Technique

Reminder: Don't break into people's personal belongings.

I'll eventually do a post on picking, which is what's appropriate when bumping isn't workable. But why pick a lock when you can just hit it? Bumping is an interesting concept when you think about the inside of a lock. This is applicable for a class of locks called pin tumblers (more complicated versions may use the same idea on other types of locks). These pin tumbler locks are found on common doors, shelves (cam locks), padlocks, and other usual places.

The first step is to make your key so that the valleys between the teeth are at the lowest point. This allows the bottom pins to hang low when the key is inserted. Keys have what you might call a combination of levels that operate as a sort of password for your lock. Here, your "password" would be 11111 as there are typically five pins and thus five valleys. The low cut assures that none of the pins interfere with the sheer-line (where the yellow core part meets the green hull of the lock). There is a light clockwise or counterclockwise tension that you put on the key as you strike it at the base (called the bow). This tension keeps the top pins in their new position. The energy from the striking device to the key to the bottom pins to the top pins transfers the same way pool balls react. This is why the top pins shoot up the way they do while the bottom pins stay low.

For a basic look at locks, I recommend:
Visual Guide to Lock Picking (2nd Edition)

If you're REALLY interested, then you have to go with THE book:

Locks, Safes and Security: An International Police Reference Two Volumes 

There are also many sites devoted to lock picking tricks. The most organized group is probably The Open Organization of Lock Pickers (TOOOL).

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