Archive for November, 2006

Interesting discussion on ‘the Russian Lock’

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

An interesting discussion is taking place in the comments of the
Russian Lock posting. Or at least I find it interesting …

the ‘Nato lever lock’

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

When Paul Crouwel showed us his (by now famous) ‘russian lock’ people
wondered what other high security locks are out there. Well … here
is one from NATO.

nato lock

The source this time is German safe technician Oliver Diederichsen.
Besides being a gifted safe opener Oliver (Oli) also is a picktool
maker and lock collector. And soon he can add writer to that too. He
is almost done writing on a book on impressioning that I am looking
forward to for a long time. His collection of special safe locks is
still growing, and he drew my attention to one of his latest
purchases. It is a lock made for NATO and was used to secure
containers. Looking at the dimensions of this thing it reminds me a
little of the Chubb Manifoil combination lock Mike van der Stelt
showed us in Sneek.

nato lock

Hopefully Oli will mail some more info about this NATO lock, but for
now you can look at some high-resolution images of this remarkable
high security lock yourself. And while you are at it visit his open
of of safe lock images. It is worth your time….

lightyears ahead of competition

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

A couple of years ago we made a small video clip explaining what
CryptoPhone is and why you would need one. Just a simple video with
nice graphics and easy to understand storyboard. I was personally
involved in managing this small project and writing text and
storyboard. Keeping in mind this is made a couple of years ago I am
still happy with the result. As a matter of fact I was so proud when
it came out I even showed it during one of my lockpick presentations.

You can not believe how amazed I was when I heard somebody copied the
clip and put their own name on it. I mean, we have seen many, many
copycats and our site and ideas are copied dozens of times by now. But
Isreali company ‘gold lock’ really outdone themselves stealing borrowing
our text and ideas. Their clip is almost word by word identical to ours.
And I always believed Israeli companies are way ahead of their competition.
Well … now you know why …

Can you spot the ten differences between their video (*) and ours?

(* Update: The video is removed from the GoldLock server… here is a mirror)

Apple pie anyone?

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

I am back. Still wearing my suit I arrived yesterday at 05:30 am at
Schiphol. I went straight to a meeting point for our campaign against
voting computers. As you might know we are the cause votes have to be
manually counted in Amsterdam. With success we have fought the voting
computer out of Amsterdam, forcing the members of the polling station
to count the votes by hand. A job that can take hours and hours. But a
job we feel is very important and can not be left to a computer. To
support these people we had decided to bring each polling station in
Amsterdam a big apple pie. This is an old hacktic tradition and the
people enjoyed it! It was quite a task and 50 people spend a few hours
each to distribute the 500 apple pies throughout the Amsterdam polling stations…

The BBC wrote something about our apple pie campaign and the local
tv station AT5 joined me while distributing the pies. (Dutch, 19 Mb)

Last day in Dubai

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Tonight I will fly back to The Netherlands. November 22 is an important
day after all … election day! I am looking forward to that!

Dubai and the Gitex tradeshow are very nice. In dubai security
awareness concerning locks is very very low. On almost every door you
will find the cheapest Chinese lock money can buy. Since we are going
to set up a new Toool lockpick competition next week I decided to buy
a typical Dubai lock to add. But the low end lock quality simply was
too low. The lock would not survive two weeks of picking. Do I decided
to buy something slightly higher in the chain of ‘decent Dubai locks’,
namely a ‘GEO’ lock. According to the box made by black&decker. Still
it would seriously surprise me if toool members in the competition
will need more then one second to open it.

Bumping is relatively unknown in Dubai, and so is Toool. Still a few
people visited the CryptoPhone stand to say hi. They told me local
police forces know about bumping and picking, but there is a strict
ban on this kind of information. That is why the Toool site is blocked
from Dubai! You simply can not reach it. So I decided not to inspire
locals this time to set up a chapter of Tool in Dubai. Besides quite a lot is blocked, including skype … bummer.
Fortunately there are some proxies that help me trough these difficult days…

What people came to Sneek for …

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

John Loughlin of Stanton Concepts came all the way to Sneek to show us
his invention. Together with his Bob Loughlin (his dad) they have invested quite some
time and money on this lock. And now John came to Sneek. To show us
how the lock works (with prototypes), and to maybe learn more about how
we would attack a system like theirs. First of all about the lock: it
is in fact a combination lock, as one would find on a safe. But
looking at the internals of the lock it does remind of Abloy too, with
all those disks and the sidebar. Look at this video to see the lock in
action, it really is a piece of art (or click on the image below to view the video).

TOC principle

The nice thing about this lock is that the combination is dialed with
a robot dialer. So the person controlling the key does not necessarily
need or have the combination. The key will dial it. It is also
possible to dial the combination by hand, using a special tool.

We have given John some suggestions. From covertly trying to record
the sequence with a contact microphone, and trying to figure out the
combination by listening closely how long it takes to rotate a disc,
to using a surface sander (abrader) to make the discs turn externally
by vibration. If the sidebar is in the top of the lock, the discs
might vibrate in the right position because of gravity. The part with
the cuts is the lightest of the disc, and will rotate cut-upwards when
vibrated. These are the kind of things you want to know before going
to mass production…

(Images by Eric Schmiedl)

prominses promises … Falle tools video’s

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

I promised some exclusive video’s shot at the Dutch Open 2006.
At Sneek I met a guy named Paul, who was from the UK. Man did he have
nice tools to show. I am glad he was willing to also show them to you.

Here are some of the nicest tools on the market! Click on the image to see the video.

Falle decoder pick for the UK Chubb 110 lever lock. Clever tool!


Falle decoder pick for Ford Tibbe disk locks. Also a clever tool!


Please do not pay attention to the noisy environment these videos
where shot in. After all, it was the Dutch Open… humming and buzzing
with interesting people exchanging the latest tips and tricks….

I hope you will enjoy the videos since I do not know how often I will
have time to update this webblog the following week.

Band-Aid for voting computers

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

The remaining voting computers in the Netherlands are going to be
thoroughly inspected and, for the first time in history, sealed.
At the meeting in Dutch Parliament our minister refused to answer
questions on how this sealing was done. All information was
classified, and members of parliament who wanted to know more could
only be informed behind closed doors. In other words … highly
sensitive stuff. Not what I have in mind with transparent democracy!

But the information leaked out already. All municipalities have access
to a closed off website from the ministry of internal affairs. One of
then decided to put the login information on their public website. Thanks!

Needless to say the files are mirrored on our site. Looking at them we
found they really outdone themselves. For every situation that might
occur during the elections there is a scenario what to do. And we
learned what way the voting computers are sealed. I was curious what
company actually made these seals. The answer is in the comments…

How to become a lockpick champion

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Berend Eggers won the Dutch Open 2006. Many people wonder what’s the
secret of becoming a champion. If you look at’s FAQ you can
find the answer. It has to do with the ‘Three O rule’ (the reason
Toool is spelled with three O’s).In order to become a champion you
need to practise Over and Over and Over again. Unfortunately the
Germans seem to follow this rule more then the Dutch.

At the ‘party of the champions’ on Saturday we learned Berends secret.
I must say I am very impressed, picking locks right after you have
been competing all day… amazing. These Germans just don’t know when
to quit. Respect!

If you want to learn his secret take a look at this video (2 minutes WMV 9 Mb)

Dutch Open 2006, pure GOLD

Monday, November 13th, 2006

It’s over. Most people are home now, others are still in a plane,
flying back to the other side of the planet. If you will ask them how
it was the answer will probably be they had the time of their life.
Ok, maybe there are one or two out of this crowd of 100 people that
have something to bitch about. But I keep in mind they can only be
truly happy if they have something to bitch about (yes, you know who
you are). So my conclusion is that everybody is happy, one way or the other.

gold bumpkeys

The image above is that of gold plated bump keys for Schlage, Yale and ASSA twin.
A gift from Babak, Eric Michaud, Eric Schmiedel and Schuyler from Toool USA.
I don’t know what to say to receive such nice gifts …. thanks guys!

There is a lot to tell about the open, and I promise to make some nice
and exclusive video available online in a couple of days. For now you will have
to do with Eric Schmiedel’s impressive photo collection (day 1, 2 and 3) and a Dutch
television item (Windows Media 16 Mb).

I now need to get some serious sleep, Wednesday I am flying to Dubai for the GITEX exhibition.