LockCon update

August 17th, 2017

LockCon 2017

As we already said, LockCon preparations are in full swing. October 20~22 we will gather in Baarlo, the Netherlands, in a medieval castle.

We can now tell you that one of the speakers will be Tim Jenkin. Tim was jailed for distributing ANC flyers in South Africa in the 1970s. He was caught and jailed. In jail, he and his friends learned to pick the locks in the prison. There were more than 10 that he needed to open, but in the end, he succeeded. For the first time, Tim will give a presentation about all the details of how the locks were opened. We are thrilled to have Tim!

If you haven’t registered yet, do so while it is still possible. LockCon is invite only, but every year we reserve a few places for people who are not invited. If you want to be at LockCon, but did not get an invite, send your motivation to us.

More talks

August 11th, 2017

The SHA2017 hacker conference has just ended. This is the 4-yearly conference in the Netherlands. This time, 4000 hackers were attending.

I did two talks on locks. In the first, I compare IT security related problems with problems in physical locks. You can view it here:

I also did the physical penetration testing talk again, as already discussed in the previous posting:

I was not the only one talking about locks. Huxleypig talked about Black Hat Locksmithing:

If you are interested in this sort of thing, take a look at https://media.ccc.de/c/SHA2017, where you will find all the talks.

Physical Penetration Testing

July 14th, 2017

Apart from being chairman of Toool, I regularly give lectures about lockpicking and lock security. I’ve spoken at many hacker conferences and events hosted by professional IT and security organisations. The most recent one was at the Black Hat Sessions. They taped it so you are now able to watch this presentation online (although, unfortunately, not all of the screen is visible):

LockCon 2017

July 3rd, 2017

LockCon 2017

We have started the preparations for LockCon 2017! We have a location, a date, a registration form (plenty of people have already registered) and we are looking forward to the event!

The medieval knight you see in the logo was inspired by the location, which is a 12th century castle. A nice location for three days (October 20~22) of workshops, lectures and competitions. As always, LockCon is an invite-only event. If you have been there before and want to come again, but haven’t registered, please do so now. Get the link from somebody at Toool.

More background information at LockCon 2017

Hack in the Box Amsterdam

April 18th, 2017

We regularly give lectures and workshops at conferences and for companies. Contact us if you are interested. Last week, we were at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam, where we taught people how to lockpick. They even included a lockpicking challenge in the Capture the Flag competition. Here is a picture of the lock we used for that.


Showing a sliding seal padlock at a regular Toool Amsterdam meeting

March 22nd, 2017

Toool NL has biweekly meetings in Amsterdam and Eindhoven. During those, people will discuss locks, pick them and socialize. The next video gives a glimpse of such a meeting. Jos had just brought some locks over and is showing the sliding seal lock on camera.

Toool competition 2017 has started

January 11th, 2017

Every year, Toool NL has a competition that is only open to Toool NL members. A box of around 25 locks travels to all meetings where members can try to pick the locks. What makes this quite different from regular competitions, is that you can get to learn the lock. You are allowed to improve your best picking time throughout the year, figuring out what tool works best and in what order you need to set the pins.

We assembled 26 locks this year, ranging from used locks with no apparant brand name to factory new locks. The Best lock was donated by Christina, some other locks were donated by Eurokey and Locksystems in Eindhoven, thanks! Last years competition was pretty stiff, so we settled for what we believe are slightly easier locks, but time will tell if they really are.

The competition page is at https://toool.nl/competitie2017/.

The 26 locks for 2017

Chinese locks

December 14th, 2016

After winning the lockpicking competition in 2014, the folks of Toool US were kind enough to sponsor a plane ticket to the event in de USA in 2015. Since I couldn’t use it, they said they would get me something else instead. That finally arrived in the form of a small suitcase labeled “Thank you for LockCon 2016”. Jos got a similar case. Thanks guys!

Case with Chinese locks

Case with Chinese locks

In it is a collection of Chinese locks. The first one (marked AFA) has two rows of dimples, 10 in total, and a wavy line. The lock is typical Chinese in that it comes with two keys that are used during construction, and several (in this case 5) user keys that are seperetely packaged. A special programming key is used to disable the construction keys and enable the user keys.

Case with Chinese locks

The second one does not seem to be reprogrammable. It comes with six keys and it is one of these Chinese locks that has a free spinning plug. The key connects the two parts of the plug, allowing the lock to operate.

Case with Chinese locks

The next lock is a padlock with a ‘smiley’ key profile. There are pins on both sides.

Case with Chinese locks

The next lock is a cilinder that again has two construction keys and a closed box that holds the (six) user keys. There is no reprogramming key: any user key will do. The construction keys have a slit at the end of the key, the user keys do not. This cilinder has a quite nice looking anti-breaking element, as has the free spinning lock. On the key we read “safety is derived from technology, Kailusidun”.

Case with Chinese locks

The last lock is a padlock made by Zhongxin. The key has two rods and the lock has two holes. The key does not rotate, it needs to be inserted after which a button on the lock can be pushed to unlock it. Removing the key locks the lock again.

Case with Chinese locks

LockCon is over

October 3rd, 2016

All good things come to an end. And a good thing it surely was! The attendees, from all over the world, were very happy with the way LockCon turned out. We are already looking forward to next year!

I would like to thank Abus for sposoring the cylinders and blanks used for the impressioning championships. Then there were several companies who have sponsored prizes for the winners. M&C sponsored a whole bunch of their cylinders, but one really stood out: it is their new Condor cylinder, a cutaway version of it, but huge and fully functional! On the picture you see it, next to a regular M&C cylinder to give you an idea of the size. A real eye catcher! Sparrows Lockpicks sponsored coupons in worth of $800, Peterson gave away several of his famous picksets, Knaap Junior gave away polo shirts and Tokoz gave away some cylinders. Thanks!

All prize winners also received a plaque in the form of a working model of a pin stack, as per the design Kenny McElroy:

And here’s all the winners:

LockCon day #3

October 3rd, 2016

Day #2 almost blended into day #3, the last day of the event, filled with lectures and a competition, just like the previous days. Mr. Cherepov showed his safe lock that uses a matrix key. Decoder talked about how he created a tool to pick the DOM Diamant lock. Jaakko talked about his research on safe combination locks that could lead to such locks being opened in a few minutes.

After that, we had a lever lock competition. Last time, this was an impromptu thing, this year it was a real competition with a record number of participants. With only 2 minutes per lock in the first round, this was quickfire picking. Still, all the 10 groups had at least one person open a lock. The fastest 10 then tried to open six locks in the final. Only Lars succeeded in opening all six, winning him first prize.