Results Lockpicking championships

October 5th, 2018

Quite a lot of people participated in the Lockpicking championships (the “Dutch Open”). We had 67 participants! Six groups were made where every person tried to open six locks. The best two would go on to the knock outs. Here are the results of that first round:

Winner Runner-up
Table 1  Julian Max
Table 2 Locknoob   Femurat
Table 3 Walter Decoder
Table 4 Marc Gorilla
Table 5 Torsten Jos
Table 6 Catani Jascha

In the first knock out round, each number one would compete one-on-one with a number two, leaving only six people:

Competitors Winner
Julian – Femurat   Julian
Locknoob – Max Max
Walter – Gorilla Walter
Marc – Decoder Decoder
Torsten – Jascha Torsten
Catani – Jos Jos

The next knock out round left three people:

Competitors Winner
Julian – Walter Julian
Max – Decoder   Decoder
Torsten – Jos Torsten

Those three people went to the final round, having to open three high security locks:

1. Decoder   1’13
2. Torsten 11’26
3. Julian

Here we see the winners, from left to right Julian, Decoder and Torsten:
Lockpicking winners
Picture by femurat

LockCon 2018

October 5th, 2018

LockCon 2018 was another success. For the second time at Kasteel De Berckt, for the first time completely sold out. We had a lot of repeat visitors of course, but also some newcomers. People from the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and possibly some countries I am forgetting now joined us for a three day event filled with lectures, workshops, competitions and of course networking (meeting new people over a beer, reconnecting with others, swapping locks and techniques).

The BBC was present to shoot some footage for an upcoming One Show.

I would like to thank our sponsors, who made the event possible. Abus sponsored all the C83 cylinders and the brass keyblanks used in the impressioning competition. They certainly know what they are doing, the bitting was perfect for the game. Multipick and Sparrows Lockpicks gave away some fantastic prizes for all of the winners. They both have some interesting new gear, be sure to take a look. Paclock made wonderful engraved padlocks for all the winners, in different colours. M&C, Tokoz and EVVA sponsored locks as prizes and for the competition. Spoox sponsored picks and pick holders. Thanks!

Picking away
Picture by Sarah

LockCon 2018

August 15th, 2018

We are busy with the preparations for LockCon 2018, taking place September 28-30 in Baarlo, Netherlands. We are almost sold out (i.e. all the rooms at the venue being occupied). There are a few left, prefeably for people sharing rooms. There is also the option to have tents or RV’s on the premises, but we would rather stick to regular rooms.

The BBC will be present to do some filming. We will have championships in lockpicking, lever lockping and impressioning. And of course a full program with lectures and workshops.


March 7th, 2018

At the regular Toool meeting in Eindhoven, we decided to spend the evening improving our skills in impressioning. We filed some keys, exchanges some tips and generally learned a lot.

Toool on Romanian TV

November 13th, 2017

While doing a presentation at conference, I learned about a ‘hack the ATM’ event. Looking at the machine, I realised the locks seemed the easiest entry point. I took out my lockpicking gear and within a minute both locks on the machine were open. The organisation later told me the rule was not to use physical access, but the Romanian TV had already picked it up, see

It’s in Romanian so you’ll probably need a translator to understand it. The video itself is here (from 0’46):

To be honest: normally the bottom part has a safe lock as well, but it was not used in this case.

Toool on Dutch TV

November 13th, 2017

A while ago, we had the Dutch national TV at one of our meetings. A guy named ‘Klaas’ makes a show in which he says he can do anything. His challenge this time: to crack a safe. The show consists of three parts. In the first, Klaas meets up with Jos to learn lockpicking, only to find out it is a bit hard to do quickly. Then, he tries the brute force method, which is also not very practical. In the end, he resorts to a robo-dialler and manages to open the safe.

You can watch the video here, but the item is in Dutch (auto-translate is possible, but won’t work wonders):

LockCon 2017 aftermath

October 26th, 2017

We pulled it off: we organized yet another very succesful LockCon! The ninth already. Because the hotel we went to last year was no longer available, we went to a new location: a real castle.

Even though we had nice surroundings, great campfires and good beer, it was of course all about meeting others interested in locks! Many new friends were made, thanks to the excellent atmosphere and the small size of the conference (100 people at most, this time from at least 10 different countries).

We also held the Dutch Open competitions in lockpicking, impressioning and lever lock picking. We were helped by many companies who sponsored. We say thank you to Abus, sponsored all the impressioning locks and keys (they did a great job with well-adjusted key bittings), DOM who sponsored some locks for the picking finals and the sponsors of some great prizes: Sparrows lockpicks (money vouchers), Pacific Lock (engraved locks), Multipick (electropicks and picksets), Tokoz (locks) and EVVA (marketing materials).

LockCon prizes

The winners are: for lockpicking: Julian (1st), Decoder (2nd) and Martin (3rd). For impressioning: Jos (1st), Oli (2nd) and Manfred (3rd). For the Toool NL competition: Walter (1st), Decoder (2nd) and Jos (3rd). For lever lock picking: Tomás (1st), Julian (2nd) and Harry (3rd). Congratulations!

And, there were many talks. We have had a great number of really impressive talks over the years, but have never published any of them. LockCon provides a secure setting where people can speak openly, even about new lock designs for instance. But, this year was a little bit special. We had an invited speaker, Tim Jenkin, who, for the first time, spoke exclusively about how he, as a political prisoner in 1970s South Africa, managed to escape. You can watch the whole video online:

An extraordinary story!

Update: I just finished adding closed captions in English. You can try autotranslate to get subtitles in any language you like. It was a huge amount of work, but I feel this story is important enough to share with many people.

LockCon update

August 17th, 2017

LockCon 2017

As we already said, LockCon preparations are in full swing. October 20~22 we will gather in Baarlo, the Netherlands, in a medieval castle.

We can now tell you that one of the speakers will be Tim Jenkin. Tim was jailed for distributing ANC flyers in South Africa in the 1970s. He was caught and jailed. In jail, he and his friends learned to pick the locks in the prison. There were more than 10 that he needed to open, but in the end, he succeeded. For the first time, Tim will give a presentation about all the details of how the locks were opened. We are thrilled to have Tim!

If you haven’t registered yet, do so while it is still possible. LockCon is invite only, but every year we reserve a few places for people who are not invited. If you want to be at LockCon, but did not get an invite, send your motivation to us.

More talks

August 11th, 2017

The SHA2017 hacker conference has just ended. This is the 4-yearly conference in the Netherlands. This time, 4000 hackers were attending.

I did two talks on locks. In the first, I compare IT security related problems with problems in physical locks. You can view it here:

I also did the physical penetration testing talk again, as already discussed in the previous posting:

I was not the only one talking about locks. Huxleypig talked about Black Hat Locksmithing:

If you are interested in this sort of thing, take a look at, where you will find all the talks.

Physical Penetration Testing

July 14th, 2017

Apart from being chairman of Toool, I regularly give lectures about lockpicking and lock security. I’ve spoken at many hacker conferences and events hosted by professional IT and security organisations. The most recent one was at the Black Hat Sessions. They taped it so you are now able to watch this presentation online (although, unfortunately, not all of the screen is visible):