Archive for the ‘Keys’ Category

Lock Picking Forensics

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

I (Walter) have created a geocache that requires some RSA hacking and subsequently lockpicking. I bought an Abus Titalium 64TI/40 padlock to be picked. Several people were able to find it by teaming up together. The feedback I got was that people spent considerable time on the lock, sometimes several hours (in separate sessions).

Geocacher #15 was unable to lockpick the lock, even though he had practiced on an identical lock at home. I offered to go with him to give advice. He couldn’t open it. Also I couldn’t (quickly) open it. I took the original key and that would not open it. By not fully inserting the key and wiggling, I succeeded in opening. (I let the geocacher pick his own lock and allowed him to log the cache.)

Once home, I decided to take a look at the lock. Although only a very limited number of people had worked on it, it was completely shot. I took a video comparing showing a new padlock and then the one from the cache:

I’ve taken apart the lock to have a look at the pins. We always say that picking a lock will leave tiny traces on the pins (and other parts of the lock) that can be found during a forensic investigation. Well, in this case, the naked eye was enough to see the abuse.

Here’s the plug with the key inserted. Note how the pins have shortened. This causes the key to no longer work.

This also explains why taking out the key a bit and wiggling opened it.

Here’s a view of the pins:

There’s now a new padlock in place. You can’t really tell from the picture here, but the pins are made out of aluminium, which kind of explains the wear on them. I bought the lock as it is marketed as being weather proof. But resisting weather is different from resisting lockpicks.

Photos/video CCBY4.0 Walter Belgers

Book review: Little Black Book of Lockpicking

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Two weeks ago Alexandre “FrenchKey” Triffault published the book Little Black Book of Lockpicking on NDE techniques for Red teams and security professionals. The book has 171 pages with a broad variety of lock types and opening methods, from lockpicking to impressioning, and from making cutaways to decoding combination padlocks.

Whenever there is a new book about lockpicking I pick up a copy especially when it’s written by a friend. It sold for €35 Amazon that does the printing and distribution of this book. The book is a good read and is a continuation of the OFC guide to lockpicking (free pdf) that’s also written by Alex and translated by MrAnybody. The OFC guide is all about lockpicking while this book includes many more topics including bumping and impressioning, both topics I’ve paid extra attention to.

The first thing I noticed was the many high detailed graphics used. Alex modeled the locks, lockpicks and other tools and included 3D renderings in the book as virtual cutaways. The style works very well for this book. It does not just write about a concept but also shows how it is done.

The book is 27 chapters and on average six pages for each subject, this inevitably means there is not too much room for details or nuances. This is a pity as Alex has the ability to give insights I would never think of.

I want to mention that the advanced topics in the book like (self) impressioning will take a long time to get good at. For me, I’ve experienced it takes many failed attempts to do these attacks, even in a controlled environment. Attacks like self-impressioning took me a very long time to make work. I can only imagine how it would be to attack doors on an assignment.

This is one of the better books on the basics of NDE and I recommend getting a copy for yourself or to to share. When you share the book, do keep in mind the book is written for red teams on an assignment and not for hobbyists. It is never a bad thing to give a small lecture on the locksport ethics and our view on locks as a puzzle with the book.

Lock pin collection

Friday, March 19th, 2021

In a previous blog post Jan-Willem’s pin collection was mentioned. In this post the pictures of the pins and keys are shared.

There is no epic conclusions to this project. At this moment it’s is just a collection of photos of locks and pins. Shared with the world. Hopefully it’ll be a resource for new pickers that would like to know what they are up against. Maybe future research will use it. Where someone clever uses the fact some spools are different than others to decode the lock. Sputnik comes to mind and we think the possibilities are not exhausted yet. (If you are working on something I’m happy to assist.)

New pickers, don’t be intimidated by the key or keyway. If you look through the collection much of the pins are underwhelming. Where a Evva is known to be difficult lock it was not expected to find all standards or one spool pin. When struggling with a lock just take it apart and see what’s in there. For the next time you encounter the same lock you will know Nemef has a spool on position two (insider joke).

This collection has a few obvious biases:

  • The collection only contains basic pin tumblers.
  • Most locks are from Europe, and are from well known lock brands.
  • The locks are not too expensive and are usually old. Therefore it lacks fancy pins like gins and Christmas trees.
  • Pins/locks that are too similar are rejected. There are some duplicates as well.
  • This is a snapshot in time. The pinning of the locks change every few years. A good example is DOM RN with two different types of pins in this collection.

If you have specific knowledge on these locks. Please share, we are open to learning more about locks. Find us on Discord, leave a comment or send us an email.

The photos are: key, pins, key, pins. The photos of pins are arranged with the brand and number. The keys have ‘key’ in the name. The Titan with a key engraved D5474 will have the pictures: TitanD5474-1key-1-scaled.jpg and TitanD5474-1-1-scaled.jpg.

The pictures are by Jan-Willem Markus. CC BY 3.0. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
In short: you are free to use, modify and share these photos as long as you give attribution. If you plan on selling them or using hem in a blog/paper/book please notify us.

The end.

Album for storing a pin collection

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

In 2019 Jan-Willem started with am odd collection. Not the locks, nor the keys, just the pins from a pin tumbler. Pins are in a lock and make them function. However, the pins are only observable when the owner decides to gut the lock or create a cutaway. The idea was simple: Create a collection/archive of pin tumbler pins and their keys. This required a proper way to store the pins.

To store the pins many different boxes have been tried. After many failed attempts Jan-Willem stumbled upon a hobby not to dissimilar from our own: coin collecting! The value of one €2 coin is just €2 to a consumer. While the collector is looking for a 1st edition misprint from Monaco, and not just any coin.

Coins are often stored in albums, either with or without protection. The lowest quality coins protection are two pieces of plastic film and a cardboard cutout. Often glued or stapled together. While the high end coins are with a certificate sealed in an acrylic case. Leuchtturm makes coin boxes in between the two, and at a reasonable price and the inserts are DIY, lasercut acrylic.

First attempt with Leuchtturm boxes.

To store these boxes it was decided to use business card holders, this did not go as plan and required custom holders. First made from acrylic and the second version from wood. Fifty sets of pins are created and thirty are added to the album. This is where the project was stuck for a year.

Pins in album v1

Last week was a good time to continue this project. A proper pleader album was bought. And the pins are added.
This is the result this far:

Abus E90 pins in a box.
Leuchtturm album.
Demonstrating how the Leuchtturm album is used to store pins.
Pins neatly stored in the album.

The album has 48 pins and about 30 more sets are ready to be archived. Acrylic is ordered and the inserts will be created when a lasercutter is accessible again. The photos will be published here on Blackbag. For now you can find one key a day on twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/microkeys?src=hashtag_click&f=live

The coin boxes, album, and inserts are sold under the name Leuchtturm and Lighthouse. These boxes are available on eBay. Link to a Dutch web shop: https://www.knm.nl/leuchtturm-quadrum-capsules-14-mm/nl/product/2741/

The files are available under creative commons, share alike with attribution, commercial use is allowed.

Key duplication from a photo CTF

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Jos has a talk about key duplication from pictures. If you have not seen it: https://youtu.be/muINcnhj1EQ
For a conference there was the question: What does it take to make it into a workshop? There was little budget so we have turned it into a CTF instead of a training/workshop.
This CTF has no prices and might teach you something new.

If you ever wished you could try it without being sneaky, this is your chance. The CTF is a controlled and safe environment. You are encouraged to copy these keys!

The problem:
Publishing pictures of your keys is not a good security practice. Keys can be duplicated from a photo rather easily. Twitter and other social media are full of threads filled with pictures of keys. I got shared one but they’ve removed it on our advice.
(Note to self: Take more screenshots.)

Example: https://twitter.com/hashtag/zeigteureschluesselanhaenger
The hashtag is about the keychain but there are some perfectly decodable keys in there.

The CTF:
1) Get to the keys
2) Take a photo or make an imprint of it
3) Make a key
4) Test the key

Measuring tools and files will be available at the lockpicking village.
We are going to help as little as possible to not spoil the fun.

There are three keys at the moment:
CTF 1) Key will be published here
CTF 2) Key will be placed on the table at lockpicking villages (do not borrow/steal the key please.)
CTF 3) Key will be on the belt/lanyard of the Orga or instructors at the lockpicking Village

Please don’t publish pictures of the CTF 2 and CTF 3 key. You are allowed to do a writeup about CTF 1.

CTF Key 1:

Key measurements:


As there was still some ambiguity, this picture should prove be useful. Each square is 5mm by 5mm.

All locks are standard unmodified 5pin Abus/Buffo. The blanks that work are Y1, 1A (SKS/JMA), CS206 (Silca) and many others. You’ll get points for sourcing your own keys. Really, give it a try!

This CTF will run for the next months to years. Come see Toool at a conference near you.
Next up: Hardwear.io, HITB, LockCon and Hackerhotel 2020.

If you want to play but can’t make it to a conference. Please send me a digital bird at Jan-Willem at Toool dt nl. You’ll be send three pictures and a post address. You can mail me the physical keys you’ve made.

I’ve tested the CTF myself. It took me about 30 minutes to make three keys from a photo.
Please, don’t publish pictures of your keys, stay safe.

Published by Jan-Willem.

Key duplication revisited

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

A few weeks ago, we tested the Quick Key Easy Pro kit from Multipick, which turned out to work very well for duplicating a BKS Janus key and even a DOM Diamant key.

This time, we wanted to see if you really need such as expensive kit. First, we focus on the metal. Can we use cheap rose metal we obtained from the internet? We use the moulds we created earlier. The answer: yes, this works fine, for both keys. Our first attempt failed as the two halfs of the mould were not properly aligned, but that is “operator error”.

Next, we try to see if there are alternatives to the moulding material. We use cuttlebone, that is also used by silver smiths. We use a standard key to start with. The duplicate looks promising, but does not work. Again, we blame the alignment of the two parts of the mould. Some further testing is necessary. The cuttlebone is too brittle to be used in combination with the holder from the Multipick kit.

Key duplication

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Although at Toool, we normally pick locks without having a key, it is also interesting to occasionally look at other ways of opening a lock. I got my hands on a Quick Key Easy Pro kit from Multipick (not affiliated) and decided to test it out. I took it to the Toool meeting with three locks to test it out on.

First up was a BKS Janus lock. I combines the two substances to make the mould, but spent too much time kneading it, it was already partially hardened when I wanted to press the key in. The second try, I hurried up a bit more and it worked nicely. I heated up a pellet of metal and poured it in the mould.

After a short wait, out came the key.

This key is quite sturdy and is thus easy to create using this technique. But the tolerances are quite small. Does the key work?

Yes, it does! And that for the first key I am making with this kit. I’m impressed. Because this key was a success, I decided to take on an even bigger challenge and duplicate a DOM Diamant key. This key is very hard to duplicate, as it has very thin pieces of metal going down the key. The first attempt yielded a key that was incomplete. The metal had not gone all the way in. I melted that key again, made it slightly warmer and tried again. The second time, the key that came out had a hole in the middle, but it had metal in all the important places. And what do you know: this key worked first time around!

Jos made a video of me duplicating the key. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed copying the key. Sorry for talking Dutch in the video 🙂

Walter.

Euro-Locks

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

April 24th, a delegation of Toool visited the Euro-Locks factory in Bastogne, Belgium.

Sales manager Jean-Louis Vincart welcomed us and talked us through the history of Euro-Locks, the factories and products. After that, we visited the actual production facility. The Bastogne factory is huge and almost all of their products are completely build here. We spoke with the R&D people creating new molds, saw molten zamac, steel presses, chrome baths, assembly lines and packaging, so everything from the raw metal to the finished product. It’s interesting to see so many products (both in range of products and the actual number of produced locks) being made here, and having no stock of the finished product.

Thanks to Eric and Martin for making the visit possible.

Printing your own nylon bumpkeys

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

This is amazing. Our German friend ‘Decoder’ just came out with a video showing the first 3D printed bumpkey (made of nylon).

Here is the youtube video:

3D printing of keys

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Companies have been offering 3D-printing services for keys for a while now. Apparently, not everybody is aware of this, so when Jos talked about this at HOPE, it caused a bit of a stir. Wired wrote an article about it that you can read at http://www.wired.com/2014/07/keyme-let-me-break-in/.

The article describes professional key duplication services. A few weeks ago, TOOOL member Tom decided to spend an afternoon to see if he could make a model of a standard key to be printed on a cheap consumer grade 3D printer. Here is the first result:

3D key

And here’s a picture of two printed keys with an original. The cuts were measured and printed.

3D keys

Here you see the key is working, although you can feel you have to be careful not to apply too much force.

3D key working

The thing the consumer grade printer has most problems with, it first printing separate blobs of plastic that only connect to the rest of the key as the profile is being printed. This means the key had to be lightly filed after printing, to make it operate the lock.