Archive for January, 2007

“Keys to heaven” freely available to the public now…

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Too bad I missed the German CCC congress end of last year.

Arthur Meister was there, doing his presentation on Stasi tools and
techniques. This presentation was first shown during the Dutch Open
2006, but now Arthur was invited by the CCC to perform there too.

As you might know from previous blackbag postings the internal Stasi
code name for the tools and techniques to open locks was ‘himmel
Schlüsseln’ (keys to heaven). CCC offers you a chance to see Arthur
demonstrate these ‘keys to heaven’. His presentation is available
online (for free). Not sure how long it will last, so act quick!

stasi tools

23rd Chaos Communication Congress “Who can you trust?”
Speakers: Arthur Meister
Language: German
Schedule Day 3
Room Saal 3
Start time 23:00
Duration 01:00

Schlossöffnung bei der Staatssicherheit der DDR
Werkzeuge und Vorgehen der STASI

Arthur Meister erläutert das operative Vorgehen und die speziellen
Werkzeuge zur Schlossöffnung, die von der Staatssicherheit der DDR
verwendet wurden. Von der opartiven Vorbereitung, über die Erstöffnung
bis zur Herstellung von Nachschlüsslen werden speziell von der STASI
entwicklete Werkzeuge und deren Einsatz gezeigt.

New ways of impressioning laser track locks

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Laser track keys always look impressive. But in fact they are only
simple wafer locks that look fancy. I wrote about decoding them a
little while ago, and even made a video of the decoder tool in action.

No need to explain how Oliver Diederichsen defeats these kind of lock:
by impressioning! In his book he writes about impressioning these locks using
modified normal (metal) laser track keys with a dremel tool.

laser track keys

I witnessed some new and innovative techniques he developed. Instead
of using relatively hard metal keys he now uses a special kind of two
component material to fill up a prepared blank. The properties of this
‘two component moldable metal’ are perfect for impressioning. When
hardened it is stiff enough to operate the lock and keep wafers in
place. Yet it will crumble when under pressure and leave beautiful marks.

See for yourself how it is done, step by step in yet another exclusive blackbag video.

Bumping cars open…

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

If you know anything about bumping locks you know it is not going to work on
lever and wafer locks. So car locks are more or less immune to bumping.

Or so you thought!

It seems specific type of Mazda cars can be bumped open real easy.
And with that I do not mean bumping the lock, but the door of the car!


According to an article in mobile magazine: “A rash of Mazda 3 owners
have fell victim to a sneaky method of forced entry to their zoom
zooms. When returning to their vehicles the passenger side door has a
dent, and all of the items once in their cars, are now gone. No glass
smashed, no door locks jimmied, just a side blow to the door will
grant entry to the thief.”

And: “According to a Mazda dealership that wishes to remain anonymous,
it works by someone creating a large blow in just the right place on
the door panel. It will leave a dent in the door of course, but this
dent goes past the door frame, to the lock assembly mechanism and
activates the linkage also tricking the computer into thinking that it
was legitimately unlocked by your key or remote.”

Wonderful … isn’t it ?!?

I found some rare video footage of the pioneers of this technique… click here.

The enigma lock … made by Chubb!

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I think by now we all know what an enigma cipher machine is. After all
it is the star in many war movies and a classic in cryptography.

And now I finally know what type of lock it was equipped with. I think
it is quite ironical the German device was locked with a UK chubb lock.

chubb keys

The lock itself is a piece of art. It can be re-keyed on the fly. Just
open the lock with it’s key, and close it with a new key. Now only the
new key can open the lock. Simple and elegant. A pure brilliant design.

Look at the video clip to see a cutaway model of the lock in action.

* UPDATE: Oli mails there is a misunderstanding. It is not an Enigma lock after all …

> The guy from chubb told, that this lock was used by UK government to store
> high security stuff as the enigma machine, which was taken from one german
> submarine by the UK military.

> Sorry for my bad explanation in Hamburg, but that should be corrected –

** Update 04/08 we finally had our hands on a real enigma and opened the lock!

Amsterdam television station visits Toool meeting

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

You sometimes have to work hard to make the best of it.

Wednesday evening we were visited by AT5, the local Amsterdam TV
station. The lady doing the interview seemed not really interested and
shot the item on routine. She did not want to learn the names of the
tools and kept referring to them as ‘them little iron thingies’.
I think native Dutch speakers can hear by the tone of her voice how
interested she really was.

As with all media she kept asking about criminals visiting Toool, if
we ever steal bikes etc etc etc. Sigh ….

The item is online at:

Feel free to play it when you are having difficulties getting to sleep.
I guess it can be a great help for people suffering from that.

Still I am glad we do not have Fox news covering the Dutch lockpick scene.

Recently Fox covered lockpicking, saying ‘security experts are
‘ because of free downloadble lockpick video’s that are
available trough youtube. Funny this clip is brought to you by … Youtube!

And a small update regarding the impressioing rush: I am definitely
back to earth. I wasted four blanks on an Abus without opening it. And
the last two tries I really paid attention too.

I had to know what I did wrong and picked the Abus and took it apart.
It seems the combination was real low. The code was 8 9 8 7 6. And I
did impress it right, except for the last pin. That went too deep. Weird.

And just a few minutes ago I did not open an EVVA five pin lock (at
the first try). So it seems like I still got a lot to learn.

Ah well … that is what makes life interesting….

More impressioning

Friday, January 19th, 2007

I must admit you almost lost me. I became a poker addict and was
sucked into the wonderful world of online poker.

However, visiting Oli this week changed my ‘poker mode’ into an
‘impressioning mode’. Impressioning is at least as addictive as poker.

Yesterday evening I practised some more, opening DOM and Nemef (both
five pin locks) and … a ‘cross key lock’.

cross key

These cross key locks normally are easy to bypass with a special tool.
However, there is a new range of locks with a so called ‘profile latch’.
Instead of a ‘cross’ the key’s profile looks more like a little swastika.

Since bumping does not work on this lock (because of a loose core’) I
was focused on impressioning it. To get the first marks on the lock
was not easy, but after that it showed it’s marks relatively easy.

The lock I opened at the first try was a LIPS. My second try on an
Ikon lock did not get me my ‘starter marks’. Since I only had two
blanks that was the end of the exercise ….

The impressioning rush …

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

I am in pure ecstasy at the moment! It is a rush I only had a few
times before. Bumping a wide variety of locks for the first time was
one of them. The other rushed I can not disclose on this public forum …

But seriously, I am still a little in shock too.

This weekend I did my first serious attempt to impression an Abus lock.
Looking at the book and the marks on the key I knew I was on the right track.
But I did not open the lock…

Monday Paul Crouwel and myself went to Hamburg to meet with Oliver Diederichsen.
We had a nice meeting with him and besides a private impression workshop he did
show us lots of nice things. I shot quite some video, so make sure to check
blackbag regularly these days to come. You will enjoy it … that is a promise!

When I came home from work today I stopped at a shop and bought a nice
magnifying lamp. It is a valuable tool when impressioning locks.

impression tools on table

Right after dinner I started… my goal was to open at least one lock!

My first try was immediately successful! Within ten minutes the first
Abus opened! The marks were so clear and obvious, I could not believe it.
And still I can not believe it 😉

Second was another Abus, one I did know what the key looked like a
bit. I vaguely remembered it had some ‘high low high’ combination but
I tried not to think about that too much. I focused on the marks and
when I got somewhere the key broke ‘half way’. Filing the remaining
marks on the key did not open the lock.

Because the key was very fragile I had to try something else. So instead of
moving the key up and down, I moved the key in and out, making horizontal marks
instead of pointed marks. I could clearly see the long-marks and filed two more
rounds. The next time I pulled the key in and out, the lock opened!

So I had a score of two out of two! It was time to put the kids to bed.

my first successful impressioned key ever!

When I finished that ‘job’ I optimisticly started digging trough my collection for
other locks with the correct blank. I could only find a Corbin … brrr …

Unfortunately the depths of Corbin are not in the book so I had to file in
much smaller steps. The first key I tried I went too deep to fast. But the
second key I remained my focus and … succeeded in opening the lock!
This was the ultimate rush. Unknown depth steps and still success.

Last but not least I found a CES lock and blank. Again I used the book
for depth measurements. It also opened the first try.

In two hours time I opened four locks using only five blanks, and put
the kids to bed too. Now siting at my couch thinking it all over.

I only hope it is not a dream … it feels a little like it!

Tomorrow is the Toool Amsterdam meeting. I will bring some impressioning
materials so members can try it themselves.

the score ....

Update 01:25 am : Back to earth. Tired and off to bed. Tried to open a DOM lock without success ….

Amsterdam proves to have a mayor with a vision …

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Ever since we heard about the re-certification of the SDU voting computers
we have been working real hard to prepare some counter actions.


And the press is still on the subject, as well as some members of parliament.

All this activity did not go unnoticed to the mayor of Amsterdam. In all his
wisdom he decided it was a bad idea to bet on the SDU voting computers being
re-certified on time for the coming local elections. So Amsterdam will vote
with paper ballots. Just like it is supposed to be!

A wise decision if you ask me. I am glad Amsterdam remains the bastille of
verifiable elections this way. Let’s see what happens in the days to come …

Book reveals new impressioning techniques

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Oliver Diederichsen outdone himself on his book ‘Impressionstechnik’ (English: impressioning).

details details details

It sounds like magic: the expert wiggles a blank key into a lock,
takes it out and examines it, files a bit off the key, wiggles it
again in the lock and repeats these steps till the key turns and opens
the lock. For real experts times under ten minutes are common.

Oliver Diederichsen’s books explains how this is achieved. And if
anyone knows about this way to open locks (called impressioning) it is Oli.
After all he is the German impressioning champion of 2005. In under
7 minutes
he created a perfect fitting key from scratch to open an
Abus 5 pin lock.

But besides being an impressioning master, Oli also has another skill.
He is a great teacher, especially when it comes to lock opening techniques.

To me it seems the only reason he did not become German impression
champion 2006 was because he gave a small workshop together with Dr.
Manfred Boelker one day before the event. Some Ssdev and Toool members
were introduced to the fine art of impressioning with the material
(images) that led to this book. Amongst the interested crowd was Ssdev
member Peter Danilov.

Peter just learned about impressioning that day … one day before the
championships. The next day he entered the championship ‘for the fun
of it’ and won in a devastating time of 5:35! Oli became second in
little over ten minutes. Beaten by his own success …

To me this proves Oli knows how to teach, and for all of us it is
a big motivation to see people can become champions with the correct
instructions and training. And of course a little luck …

Oli’s book gives you these instructions and reveals there is no magic
involved in impressioning. It will teach you what materials to select
and how to use them, the pitfalls you can (and will) run into and the
“do and do-not’s” of impressioning.

What I really like about the book is that it covers new ground. Many
people in the security field know more or less pin tumbler and lever
locks can be opened this way. But did you know dimple locks and even
laser track car locks can be opened like this? Step by step Oli covers all
of these locks in detail, and many, many more.

impressioning a 15 pin dimple lock

The book is filled with the most clear and beautiful high resolution
images on this subject I have ever seen. I counted close to two
hundred of them, not including schematics or drawings. And that is
what this book is all about, details that make the difference. This
also counts for the chapter Manfred Goth wrote about forensic traces
left by impressioning. The electron microscope images reveal what the
naked eye can not see. Fascinating material!

electron microscopes are cool

Oli explained me that printing in black and white would have made this
book much cheaper. But being the perfectionist he is, he had the
book printed in full color. That is why the price of 79 euro might
seem a little steep. But if you want to learn about this technique it
is worth every penny. And who knows, you might even become the 2007
champion …

It got me motivated to learn more, I think I will give it a try this weekend.

To be continued …. (and no, I do not get commission from Oli, it is just a cool book)

“How it’s made” on hotel locks

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

hotel lock

Yesterday on Discovery there was an item about how hotel locks were
made. The name of the program is very appropriate: “How it’s made”…

And for the Dutch readers: it even was subtitled in Dutch.

It is always very informative to see how locks are made and tested.
Electronic or mechanic, you always learn a lot. I could tell you what
I learned from it, but advise my dear readers to look at the video themselves.

It can be found here (WMV, 5 minutes, 38 Mb, some weird glitches …sorry)

In the comments we can discuss the possible flaws…