Archive for the ‘LockCon’ Category

LockCon 2017 aftermath

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

We pulled it off: we organized yet another very succesful LockCon! The ninth already. Because the hotel we went to last year was no longer available, we went to a new location: a real castle.

Even though we had nice surroundings, great campfires and good beer, it was of course all about meeting others interested in locks! Many new friends were made, thanks to the excellent atmosphere and the small size of the conference (100 people at most, this time from at least 10 different countries).

We also held the Dutch Open competitions in lockpicking, impressioning and lever lock picking. We were helped by many companies who sponsored. We say thank you to Abus, sponsored all the impressioning locks and keys (they did a great job with well-adjusted key bittings), DOM who sponsored some locks for the picking finals and the sponsors of some great prizes: Sparrows lockpicks (money vouchers), Pacific Lock (engraved locks), Multipick (electropicks and picksets), Tokoz (locks) and EVVA (marketing materials).

LockCon prizes

The winners are: for lockpicking: Julian (1st), Decoder (2nd) and Martin (3rd). For impressioning: Jos (1st), Oli (2nd) and Manfred (3rd). For the Toool NL competition: Walter (1st), Decoder (2nd) and Jos (3rd). For lever lock picking: Tomás (1st), Julian (2nd) and Harry (3rd). Congratulations!

And, there were many talks. We have had a great number of really impressive talks over the years, but have never published any of them. LockCon provides a secure setting where people can speak openly, even about new lock designs for instance. But, this year was a little bit special. We had an invited speaker, Tim Jenkin, who, for the first time, spoke exclusively about how he, as a political prisoner in 1970s South Africa, managed to escape. You can watch the whole video online:

An extraordinary story!

Update: I just finished adding closed captions in English. You can try autotranslate to get subtitles in any language you like. It was a huge amount of work, but I feel this story is important enough to share with many people.

LockCon update

Thursday, 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.

LockCon 2017

Monday, 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

Chinese locks

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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 #2

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The second day of LockCon is also over. In between all the talking, lockpicking, lock swapping, socializing and such, there was time for workshops and lectures. Jord gave a workshop lever lock picking, to prepare attendees for the championship tomorrow. After that, Peter Field discussed techniques used by lock manufacturers, with his wonderful pictures that show the working in fantastic detail. Next, Jan and Michael talked about their adventures milling EVVA 3KS keys. Eric came across a certain motorbike lock that needed opening and he decided to use a decoder for it of which he explained the working. The evening was ended by the premiere of “American Lockpicker”, a documentary about Schuyler Towne by Ben Hartman.

And we had also time for the lockpicking championships. A whopping 48 people competed. After 8 rounds, 6 people went through to the semi-finals and three of those played the final rounds. It turned out to be very exciting, with all three contestants opening all three locks within the 15 minutes they had for each lock. In the end, Christian was the fastest and thus became the winner. Here you see him in action:

LockCon day #1

Friday, September 30th, 2016

The first day of LockCon has come to an end (at least, the official program). We had a talk by MH and Lucas about Chinese locks. What threats do they try to protect against? What new techniques are being used? Featuring the famous “free spinning lock” and the “chain-key lock”. Jord Knaap had some interesting stories about his work as a safe opener. He also showed some very new safe opening techniques. Deviant talked about keyed-alike locks in the USA. Who would have thought that when the policy (or taxi companies) order keyed-alike cars, they are actually all keyed alike? Jimmie and Cocolitos talked about newly designed picks that work really well on many types of locks. Ray disassembled some wireless locks and found some interesting vulnerabilities (including a 0day). Kenny taught us all about OpenSCAD. We will not go into too much detail. The event is invite-only for a reason ;-).

And we had also time for the impressioning championships. Abus kindly sponsored a bunch of Abus C83 cylinders and key blanks. After a first round, the first six went to the final, all having to open six new locks. The winner was Alexandre, Oli became second and Jord third.

Here you see the winner in action:

LockCon program

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Although the desire to be at LockCon is normally not related with the official program, we do get some questions about what lectures will be given. So, we have made a (preliminary!) program. You can download it from here: lockcon2016.ics.

Apart from competitions in lockpicking, impressioning and lever lock picking, lots of socializing and generally having lots of fun, these lectures/workshops are planned:

  • Contemporary Chinese Locks by MH and Lucas Zhao
  • Bypassing electronic safe locks by Jord Knaap
  • Keyed-alike industrial standards by Deviant Ollam
  • OpenSCAD by Kenny McElroy
  • Surfing the wave! (a pin lock picking tools analysis) by Jimmie & Cocolitos
  • Elements of Cylinder Design by Peter Field
  • CNC Milling EVVA 3KS Keys and decoding the Masterkey System by Jan Morawek and Michael Weiner
  • AccuReader by Eric Scaillet
  • Why safe lock manipulation works by Jaakko Fagerlund

LockCon progress

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

LockCon 2016

Things are moving along rather nicely. The registration has opened and a lot of the usual suspects have already registered. We are however still missing quite a lot of our regular visitors. Please do not forget to register, because we have a limited number of rooms. Just showing up on the day will probably mean you cannot get in anymore!

Lots of people are submitting talks. We love it! Keep them coming! People who have submitted a talk will be contacted later, when we have a preliminary schedule. There is room for lightning talks as well.

There is a logo for LockCon 2016 as you can see. This year, we have decided not to print shirts, to avoid a pile of left overs once LockCon is over. Anybody want to buy a shirt from 2014? This year we do have shirts, but they are printed on demand and you can order them yourselves. We offer these on a non profit basis via the shirt shop of our good friends at Hack42. You can order either a man’s T-shirt, women’s T-shirt, mini person T-shirt or a hoodie.

If you want to use a different (local/cheaper/DIY) printshop, feel free to use the logo above.

LockCon 2016 – dates

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

LockCon logo

The weekend of September 30 – October 2, the LockCon conference will once again be held! This time, it will not be in Sneek, but in Garderen, in Hotel Overbosch Garderen. Garderen is less than 2 hours from Schiphol Airport when using public transportation.

LockCon is an invite-only conference. Members of Toool NL and affiliated lockpicking groups can visit, as well as people that have visited LockCon before. Others need to be endorsed or need to convince us they should be there ­čÖé

Registration is not yet open and the price is not yet known. This post is for you to take note of the date, and also to ask if you are willing and capable of giving a lecture or workshop at LockCon 2016. If so, please let us know at lockcon2016-submit@toool.nl.

Apart for the interesting lectures and workshops, the Dutch Open lockpicking and impressioning championships will also be held during LockCon as usual.