Archive for the ‘Locks’ Category

Picking cheap locks

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

I had ordered a cheap transparant padlock out of China. Although it is a six pin lock, I could pick it touching only two of the six pins. I took a look at it and it’s interesting to see how costs were cut (the lock costs about $3 in bulk). Material has been drilled from the plug to save material. Also, the top and bottom pins are the same pins. This influences the security of the lock. If the pin is stack is not neatly at the sheer line, it will still open as the tipped pin will wiggle itself into the correct position. This is why picking one third of the pins suffices in this case.

I then looked at some euro cilinders in the same price range. It turns out that effectively, they have only one pin that needs to be set. You can use a random key to wiggle the lock open. Even more shocking is the fact that some people will actually put such a lock on their front door.

Picking Abloy Classic

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I regularly give lectures and workshops about locks and lock related topics at conferences such as CONFidence,, BruCON, 4GH, SEC-T, Hackito Ergo Sum, Hashdays, Fri3dcamp, TEDx and more. My latest talk was also the most interesting. It was at the wonderful conference in Helsinki, Finland.

I was there in 2014 as well. This year, I could only speak again if I’d open Finnish locks. And Finnish locks are among the most secure.. Almost everybody in Finland has ASSA Abloy locks on their door. Many Fins believe these are unpickable. So I set myself the task to open these locks.

First, I tried the H&H tool for opening Abloy. I then found out this tool does not work and simply cannot work, unless you can set the discs in order. So this was money wasted. I finally was able to purchase a tool from Citadel LockTools in the UK, that can actually open (and decode) Abloy Classic locks. These tools are handmade by Matt and look and work fantastic.

The tool comes with several tips, for different kinds of locks. I bought a few Abloy Classic ‘handbag’ padlocks and it’s interesting to see that they differ. In one, the deepest disc is locked, not so in the other. They both need a different tip on the tool.

Abloy Classic decoder

Abloy Classic decoder

Using this tool, I was able to open an Abloy Classic live on stage in Helsinki, which got me a nice applause!

Here’s a clip of when, after some practicing, I was first able to open the Classic using Matt’s tool:

Maverick lock

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

I had this Maverick lock in my collection for a long time. At a Toool meeting, I was playing around and decided to try and open it. Martin then suggested he make it into a cutaway version, which he did. I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how it works.

Self-picking cylinder

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Getting practice locks that have no security pins, for new lockpickers, is not that easy here in the Netherlands. But sometimes, cheap “dollar stores” will have batches of cheap locks that are very easy to pick.

Martin found such a lock in a store in Belgium. The funny thing? The lock had actually picked itself during transport, probably due to vibrations, inside the packaging!

So that’s great news. We now have self-picking 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.

Gendarm lock

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Jos showed up with an interesting lock. It’s a German lock for a cash drawer. Instead of using a key, you need to press several levers to open it. If you press the wrong ones, an alarm goes off (all mechanic!). One lever was not operational. Jord fixed it and made a small movie demonstrating the lock.

Adventures with an old time-clock

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Sometimes, the people who visit Toool are there for a specific reason. They are collectors and have in their possession an old apparatus with a locking mechanism but no key. They come so we can try to open the thing without destroying it. As you can read elsewhere on blackbag, we’ve opened quite a few WWII crypto-devices for instance.

Yesterday, somebody visited us with an old time-clock. The lock looks simple indeed, but took considerable time to open, revealing the interesting mechanics on the inside. The owner was happy and so were we!

What brand of lock is this?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

At the Toool evening, Maurice from showed us one of the locks in his collection. It is a really interesting lock. I’ve never seen a lock with such a key before. And it’s old. But that’s about all that we know. Do you know more? Please leave a comment.













The keys are in a protective metal holder and they have 5 hollow pins.

The lock is opened by inserting the key fully and the retracting it. The mechanism is such that closing the lock after it has been opened, resets the lock mechanism. On the key you can see a horizontal stripe, this is a metal strip that, when removed, allows the key to be re-keyed.

Here’s a short video of the lock in action:

Lever Locks

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

At the Toool evening, we had a visit of Maurice and Sander from Having 20 years of experience opening safe locks, Maurice has created a lovely collection of lever locks. All locks have been given a plexiglass shield so you can see the inner working.

Among it are some interesting ones, like one from a church, with letters on the wheel and a nice rekeyable lock.


And here’s some more.

Thanks Maurice and Sander!