Lock Bumping

Perhaps it is the burgeoning interest in personal security or perhaps it is the level of reported crimes or even just the shock associated with the simplicity of break-and-enter that is now widely known as lock bumping but one thing is for certain, the media in the USA and Europe has given the subject of lock bumping a great deal of attention in recent times. Commentary has been overwhelming and yet, here in Australia, the issue remains largely unreported.

Like the US media, at Australian Lock we believe it to be important that the community be aware how simple it is to bypass what is estimated to be the vast majority of locks in the USA and also, in Australia. For instance, most home and business owners do not know that your standard in-line front door lock or even that additional deadlock [that you added to feel more secure in your security] can, in many cases, both be bumped. That is, opened! And within seconds!

And, from the media coming out of the USA and Europe particularly, virtually any standard in-line lock can be bumped. The public need this knowledge if only to make a more educated and valued decision regarding the security of their family, their business and even their personal security.

Greg Mango, editor of US based magazine, “The National Locksmith” [http://www.thenationallocksmith.com] in a recent editorial, entitled “Bump Key Hysteria,” said that:

“…Oh, so it’s a bad thing that the Americans now know that the level of security on most homes and businesses is pathetic, and quite frankly, shameful!”

He goes on to criticise the US standards suggesting the public need to understand the differences and arguably, the same can be said of standards here in Australia. He calls for simple labelling as has occurred in the food industry, rating locks according to their capabilities for all to see.

To do so, we all need to know the differences between locks that can be bumped and those high security locks that encapsulate additional features to prevent bumping. One such beast is BiLock, an Australian made and designed product that has built a solid market share within Australia and internationally, over the past two decades on its many features. Not least of which is anti-picking features and SCEC endorsement [ www.australianlock.com.au].

This article does not demonstrate how bump keys are made but acknowledges that several US based TV shows used the internet to acquire such keys readily. Instead, we aim to generate discussion within the industry and hopefully, go some way toward encouraging the security industry to assist in educating individuals to ask whether the locks they are buying, often for several hundred dollars, are able to be bumped open.

In fact, I think we should all be asking our suppliers, our builders and our hardware suppliers for a written guarantee that the lock they are selling us, is bump-resistant like the Australian owned, BiLock locking system! Then we are, at least, able to make an informed judgement about the level of security we are prepared to accept for our families, our businesses and our belongings!

US media has reported that some insurance companies will now compensate their customers for the use of high security locks such as BiLock and other branded, high security locks. Perhaps Australian based insurance firms could also take this on-board for the future even if it only means a reduction in policy excess. Such an initiative may encourage the market to spend extra on the “high security” options available.

Well, according to the European based organisation, TOOOL [European based Open Organisation of Lock pickers - http://www.toool.nl/index-eng.php] it’s a simple technique by which an extensive variety of mechanical locks can be opened quickly and without damage by an untrained attacker. This organisation decided to publish the list because they felt

“… Those that depend on the security of locks [or any other piece of technology for that matter] need to be able to continuously re-evaluate their security having full knowledge of any threats.”

It has long history from as far back as 1956 when it was reported in a Keynotes Magazine. In 2005 it came to the forefront in Europe and the USA when organisations like TOOOL and individuals like Matt Blaze, Paul Clark, Theodore Tool, M.W. Tobias and Klaus Noch reported a number of locks could be “bumped” relatively easily, including, with me surprise, some of the more expensive brands. You can read all about the process on sites like www.toool.nl

Dean Nickel, member of Associated Locksmiths of America & Member, Institutional Locksmith Association & CRL - Locksmith Lead at the US based, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle is one of a number, who have tested the BiLock cylinders for bumping and claim,

Why is Bilock resistant to bumping?

Put simply, it’s down to just how the lock works. It does not have split pin applications so you can never create a gap like a standard lock, it has side bars, pins of equal length with hidden combinations, all of which combine with other security features like the 13th locking pin operated by a unique moveable element within the key to resist bumping.

Dean goes on to say that “…the quality is very good and I can say that I am VERY satisfied, especially when it comes to rekeying. I was totally off in my time projections for this lock. I was figuring on five minutes a lock, I can rekey a QCC lock in fewer than two minutes. That is a heck of a time saving when you are talking 1250 cylinders.

The key cutting I was right on the money, so that is good. It’s easy and quick. Overall, I think it will save this facility a great deal of money and keep control of our keys that we have out, being that nobody can copy them. But it is the savings both on time and money that matter… A VERY satisfied customer!”February 2007

To discover for yourself why Bilock is Australia’s answer to “bump-resistant locking” go to www.australianlock.com.au. I think you’ll be surprised at this Australian invention!

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