More “hotel door hacking” and lockcon

Times are pretty hectic so Charlotte and I decided to take off to one of Europe’s nicest cities for a relaxing weekend without the kids. When we entered our hotel room I was thrilled to see it had a chain on the inside … (see my previous post on hotel doors to read why). The chain is a weak link by itself as it was obvious if had been broken and repaired many times before. In my opinion it is not necessary to use force on the chain as it can be bypassed relatively simple.

Chain on the inside of a door

I did improvise a little and shot a video on how to bypass the chain using nothing more then a rubber band for you. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to experiment on how to lock the chain when being on the outside as I promised Charlotte I would spend my time with her and not geek around too much. But I guess a rubber band and some dental floss could do the trick.

And for those of you who want to test their ‘keyway knowledge’: can you tell by these keyways (1 2 3 4 5 and 6) what country we visited? BTW, keyway six is a lock used by the local phone or power company. And I did notice the hotel door keyway was the same as the picture I took of the lock in a completely different country.

Next post (after my short “I am now on twitter” message) is about Lockcon. It will be held the weekend of October 8-9-10. This will allow international visitors to visit the famous large security fair in Essen.

38 Responses to “More “hotel door hacking” and lockcon”

  1. Mark says:

    I love how hotels/motels still use the chain lock when it’s so easy to defeat. Some use the bar lock which is better, but still quite easy to defeat as well. Maybe some day they’ll come up with something new.

    Love your posts. Always so informative!

  2. Jean-Claude says:


  3. elphreaker says:

    It could be Belgium, Germany, any country of central europe.

    I have done that bypass using a small thumbtack to draw the chain back, avoinding having to tie it to the handlebar. In metal doors a small neodimium magnet can be used
    I have also tried out a simple nylon fishing line passing it under and over the door, and pulling towards the hinges.

  4. Schuyler says:

    Stoked to hear about Lockcon, Barry. Also? I’m launching a New England Open of Locksport this summer/fall. Details to follow, just locking in the space now. A lot of wonderful people are coming together to make it happen.

  5. Barry says:

    Well done Jean-claude and elphreaker! … it was Belgium. Antwerp to be precise …

  6. Wolf says:

    Welcome to (not-so) sunny Belgium.
    Hope you like our Litto locks.

  7. Jean-Claude says:

    Litto was the giveaway 😉

  8. Barry says:

    Jean-Claude: I kept it relatively simple … this time (evil grin). Did you knew Litto was from Belgium or did you have to look it up?

  9. Jean-Claude says:

    Family from Lëtzebuerg.

  10. elphreaker says:

    BTW Barry: T711 – Unknown ( Is a Spanish Ezcurra DS-15R 😉

  11. Barry says:

    Very nice elphreaker … you know your keyways 😉

  12. Walter Belgers says:

    @elphreaker: thanks, i’ve updated the database to reflect this

  13. RAIMUNDO says:

    Why does this rubber band and thumbtack method keep getting mentioned,
    it is fiddly and not going to work every time, yu will have to rerty and restart til it works, and how do you put a thumbtack in a steel door?

    Heres the easy way, the chain works because your arm is thick and cannot go through the door while the chain is on the door.

    a coat hanger is very thin, and with the proper half round hook on one end, and a few appropriate bends so that it can be manipulated from outside,

    reach in and hook the end of the coat hanger on the chain end with the slot grabber. then pull your thick arm out of the opening and close the door so that only a thin coathanger can reach through, then manipulate the coat hanger.

    Try this a few times Barry and you will never got to rubberbands and sticky stuff again.

  14. elphreaker says:

    @Walter Belgers If you have more locks you suspect are spanish, I could surely tell you what model they are.

    @Raimundo, thats why I mentioned the magnet, for metal doors, anyhow a rubber band can be kept anywhere, a bent coat hanger cannot. Im pretty sure everyone here knows them, I personally think that barry’s intention isn’t to documentate any reader about 10 ways bypass a door with a night lock.

  15. […] of trick for illegal or shady activities, but instead keep it in mind when securing your own home. [BlackBag] Tagged:clipsdiygadgetslocksrubber […]

  16. joe says:

    What about packing nice solid wedge of wood and just using that as a doorstop. I’m sure that could be broken through too, but after the chain was removed I’m sure the intruder would not be expecting that and the noise would wake the occupants as their body weight slammed into the door.

  17. joe says:

    What about packing nice solid wedge of wood and just using that as a doorstop. I\’m sure that could be broken through too, but after the chain was removed I\’m sure the intruder would not be expecting that and the noise would wake the occupants as their body weight slammed into the door.

  18. Mitch Capper says:

    Hey Barry, seems your revolutionary new method has made and seems April Fools means old tricks breath again:)

  19. Andy says:

    Or, since it’s just a chain, you can just kick the door open.

  20. Cybergibbons says:

    Andy makes a good point – if the chain is on, then you are entering a room with someone in it. Chances are they don’t want you to come in, so skip the niceties and just force the chain. Most of these will snap even if you pull the door to and then give it a hard shove.

  21. joe says:

    Though being able to put the chain on and off from outside would allow the occupant of the room to leave, and then put the chain on, giving the impression that the room was occupied.

  22. mh says:

    LockCon 2010 should of course again happen in Sneek, NL 🙂

  23. Barry says:

    The funny thing is I did not even mean to make it a mystery … just lack of time. As always MH is right … Sneek it is!

  24. […] More “hotel door hacking” and lockcon [Blackbag via Gizmodo] Tagged:lockssecurityvideo […]

  25. When we can buy our tickets to LockCon 2010 ? 🙂

    Nice picture of an Abloy Exec BTW (keyway no. 6) 😛

  26. Jonathan Wilson says:

    If you were staying in a hotel and were worried about the security of a chain against someone gaining entry (possibly after using a forged/stolen/master/etc key to open the door) you could use something like this:

    From the looks of it, it would be quite difficult to open from the outside.

  27. Harmy G says:

    This is great… if you are a maid and really want to clean the room with the occupants still inside?

  28. Cristian says:

    You visited Italy! (CISA)

  29. Barry says:

    ehrm Cristian: the challenge is over. Some people already guessed correctly it was Belgium (because of the two Litto locks shown)

    And DK: nice Korean video!

  30. elphreaker says:

    That Korean video is pretty funny, even tho I doubt the product they advertise is that safe, as when the door is fully closed you could probably “Mica-it” 😉

  31. Chirol says:

    The best hotel security is a gun. Too bad European governments don’t respect the rights of their citizens to defend themselves.

  32. […] More “hotel door hacking” and lockcon « Blackbag, Barry’s weblog Bruce Schneier had this on his blog, it's a great demo of how to get a chain off a door from the outside. I like demos like this, as I occasionally need to break into my own house, garage, etc. AKPC_IDS += "2533,";Popularity: unranked [?] SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "links for 2010-04-07", url: "" }); | Comments […]

  33. […] Barry Wels, bloggero, demuestra cómo lograrlo utilizando una liga o banda de hule. Me recuerda al post del Bump Key, al igual que ese el objetivo no es enseñar Cómo violentar o vencer una cerradura, sino entender las limitaciones de estos mecanismos. […]

  34. hinty says:

    If the chain is engaged, someone is in the room. While you fiddle around with your rubber band, the person inside is liable to sneak over, lie on his back on the floor, and unleash a massive double-footed donkey kick to the back of the door, thus relieving you of several digits.

    If the door-kicker was me, I’d enjoy those severed thief-fingers as part of a nutritious breakfast.