Archive for December, 2015

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: