Archive for June, 2009

Abloy classic ‘key reader’

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Abloy classic key reader

Above you see a so called ‘key reader’ for the Abloy classic system. If you insert a key and rotate it, you can read the depth of each individual cut as well as read the code number Abloy gave to it’s customer. It is common practice to ‘scramble’ these ‘customer numbers’ so the exact depth of the cuts can not easily be read from the factory code that is sometimes stamped into a key or printed on a ‘code card’. In the case of this classic abloy they used a static code that is pretty simple. All I did was insert a blank and turn it to 00000, 11111, 22222 etc to compile the following list:

disc        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

depth 5  1 9 6 2 3 4 0 7 9 2
depth 4  8 2 4 3 1 2 9 6 5 8
depth 3  5 7 9 4 2 0 5 1 7 6
depth 2  4 1 5 6 7 1 2 9 3 0
depth 1  2 3 8 1 0 3 4 5 2 7
depth 0  6 0 2 7 9 6 8 4 1 1

Of course I tried this reader to check the code on the key I impressioned last week. It is funny to see there is a huge difference between the original key and the impressioned key. I guess the Abloy classic has got some pretty wide tolerances, or the reader can not cope well with the angles on my key.

After the Spanish impressioning course I will try to make impression a key with the help of this new tool…. and if time permits report back here about it …

Dutch podcast: Win a credit card lockpick set

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Han and I were guests in the Dutch podcast of ‘de beveiligingsupdate‘ (the security update). To sponsor this podcast a little we are giving away five credit card lockpick sets. Five winners will be selected from people who mail them, so even if you do not speak dutch just mail and who knows … you might win one of these cool gadgets …

*Update: no more chance to win … the lottery is closed.

Abloy classic and trying the ‘reduced contact area blank’

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

In a couple of weeks Han and I will be giving a two day impressioning course in Spain. It is going to be the second course we organize for the Spanish APECS locksmith organisation in nine months. Last time we gave a very successful course on bumping Spanish locks (a small test proved around 80% of the pin tumbler locks on the Spanish market could be bumped). This time the topic will be impressioning.

successful impressioned key for 6 disc abloy camlock

One of the things I am focusing on lately is ‘advanced impressioning’. This means trying the technique on other locks then the standard pin tumbler locks, or modifying keyblanks to make life more easy or have a higher success range on high security locks.

The lock high on my wish list is the Abloy classic (PDF). As far as I know it is the oldest system that uses discs instead of pins, yet it still is (to me) a remarkably secure lock as it has a very high degree of pick resistance. Of course I had to try if I could use impressioning to open it.

My first attempt was to simply give it a try and see what happens. In this case I just took a classic key, smoothened it and filed down where I saw marks. I soon realized this was not going to work. I had absolutely no idea of the exact position of the discs on the blank and the marks kept wandering from left to right. So my second try was using a marker making some dots on the blank, indexing where the discs should be. Still this did not work well as the marks were sometimes appearing between the dots … and I ran out of blanks too …

I recently bought more blanks and could continued the challenge. My new strategy: reducing the contact area of the key. Using a caliper I noticed the spacing on Abloy classic is two millimeters (at least on the locks I was experimenting with). So I marked the blank and removed the material between the positions. For removing the material I used a fine metal saw, a dremel tool (with a diamond disc) and a very fine ‘blade file’ (knive file?). After some work I ended up with a ‘reduced contact area blank’ that looks like a comb.

abloy classic key modified for impressioning (reduced contact area)

Filing down the remaining teeth of the comb is done with a special file. This file is cut only on the thin side. Using this file will only remove material from the contact area of the file, and not from the side of the blade (like on a normal ‘full contact’ file).

I did not have a whole lot of abloy classic locks and was happy to have one padlock I did not know the key-combination of. I did have the key, but put it in a bag without looking at it. Using the reduced contact area key I got the idea I was on the right track … when the key broke off in the lock (grrr). And I could not get the remaining key out of the lock and was out of test locks….

It is a good thing Han managed to remove the key from the lock, and even though I was on the right track I was too deep on some positions.

Talking with Han, we came to the conclusion to start easy using a simple six disc camlock. As most abloy classic locks have a cut 1 (no material removed) on the first and last disc, there were only four discs to work on. And each of these discs could have a cut between one to six (as you can see on this ‘stairway’ key that is cut 1-2-3-4-5-6). This four disc lock did not provide a challenge and was opened in a couple of minutes (without knowing the code).

After this success I did buy some new nine disc padlocks, yet I still have not managed to open them. Somehow I am doing something wrong … so I would be grateful if people would share their experiences on impressioning disc (and lever?) locks in the comments or using a private message …

Of course I will keep trying and report back if I know what is needed to successfully open the nine disc version …

* Update 22/06 21:00: hyperfocus kicked in and … voila … just opened the nine disc version …
All I did was make the teeth of the key a little more thin, and filed in small steps. I must say I am pretty pleased with this success as I have not found any other info out there on people successfully opening Abloy classic locks this way …

successful impressioning on nine disc Abloy classic lock

The pickproof lock

Monday, June 15th, 2009

A friend of mine asked if I could help him with a lock. The specifications were: I have to be able to lock it from the inside with a knob, and I will not use the key on the outside at all. It is a pretty security aware friend, and he wanted to use a pick- and bumpproof lock. So I gave him the lock you see below. Guaranteed pick and bump proof!

Can you see why?

pickproof lock ... can you see why?

pickproof lock ... can you see why?

Ok, here is what I did: I drilled out three of the caps that hold the springs and pins in place, and replaced the pins with a steel screw. Of course I cut the remaining head of the screw off using an abrasive wheel. If you look closely into the keyway you can see the thread of the screw instead of a smooth pin. Now, I am the first to admit the lock can not be opened from the outside at all, but that was the specification. Because of the steel screws I think the lock is a little bit more difficult to drill and pull out also …

More news soon, as I am still busy and still exploring the new features of this version of the wordpress blog software.

Little busy …

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Sorry, no blogposting today. I am a little busy and simply have no time to write something that lives up your high quality expectations 🙂

And Rop is busy with sysadmin stuff (as you can see), so if all goes well I will be able to upload images and video’s again soon …

Hopefully all will be ok soon, and I will write a new posting in a couple of days …

The king is dead, long live the king!

Monday, June 1st, 2009


I am flabbergasted. To be honest I did not expect to win this year’s German impressioning games, simply because the lack of training and some of my German friends seemed very motivated to bring the title back to Germany. And Oliver Diederichsen did just that: in a record time of four minutes and twenty three seconds he managed to open the Abus C83 lock. Quite an achievement and very well done!

For me personally the games ended in pure drama. I lost my title in the worst possible way: without opening my lock at all!

A very strange experience as in the last year I barely ever had to use a second key, let alone a third one to open a lock (even when working under pressure). But hey, you can not win them all, and it is a good motivation to start serious practicing for the ‘Hacking At Random’ impressioning games later this year ….

I must say I am very happy Oliver won the games. Instead of keeping the watch I offered to the winner he decided to turn it into a challenge trophy that will change hands from game to game. Every time someone wins a game his or hers name will be engraved in a plaque that holds the watch. The winner has to safeguard the trophy and bring it to the next challenge. A great idea and a display of true sportsmanship!

Here the rest of the scores of the German Impressioning 2009 games:

1. Platz Oliver Diederichsen 04:23 SSDeV/Spg. HH
2. Platz Arthur Meister 12:25 SSDeV/Spg. HH
3. Platz Ingo Zschippang 15:20 SSDeV/Spg. HH
4. Platz Roland Geyer 16:31 SSDeV/Spg. Nürnberg
5. Platz Dr. Manfred Bölker 19:29 SSDeV/Spg. HH
6. Platz Gerhard Hepperle 27:10 SSDeV/Spg. Stuttgart
7. Platz Jens Andrews 42:51 SSDeV/Spg. HH
8. Platz Volker Löding 46:05 SSDeV/Spg. Stuttgart
9. Platz Jos Weyers 46:40 TOOOL NL
10. Platz Django 46:53 TOOOL NL
11. Platz Oliver Jans 52:09 SSDeV/Oelde

My congratulations to the winners and all that did manage to open the lock in under one hour!