Why Lock Vulnerabilities Matter
We count on our locks to keep us safe, and they usually do. It’s important, though, to understand the vulnerabilities of the locks we choose, so that we can take measures to improve our security. Whether you’re a locksmith or a homeowner, it pays to understand how locks can be bypassed. Here, we look at lock security and bypass techniques, for a variety of different types of locks, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of locks from basic pin and tumbler to sophisticated electronic locks and biometric systems.
Learning to Bypass Locks
All it takes is a quick online search to find tutorials on bypassing locks. It can be helpful to know some of these techniques, to prevent being locked out of the house, but it’s also important to recognize and address the ethical concerns inherent in the sharing of these techniques. It’s crucial to only share bypass techniques in a responsible way, to prevent them from falling into the hands of those who would use them for illegal, unethical purposes.
Basic Lock Bypass Techniques
You’ve seen it in the movies, and maybe you’ve developed the skill yourself. Someone wants to pick a pin and tumbler lock and does so with some simple tools and carefully applied know-how. Lockpicking is an art, involving skill and patience, but it can be learned if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Using specialized tools like picks and tension wrenches, practitioners of lockpicking manipulate the individual pins in a traditional pin and tumbler lock, allowing them to spring the lock and gain entry. But what if you don’t have specialized tools?
Once you understand the principles behind manipulating a pin and tumbler lock, you can be resourceful in your methods. Hairpins and paperclips are popular for picking locks because they can be twisted into a shape that allows them to precisely manipulate the components of the lock. In some cases, a credit card can be used to push back the locking mechanism and open the lock. Ultimately, pin and tumbler locks are not very difficult to bypass.
Are Key Card Locks More Secure than Pin and Tumbler?
Key card locks are used to provide security for hotel rooms, college campuses, and various businesses, including fitness centres. They are extremely convenient, but they do have some flaws in terms of security. A key card lock requires the use of an authorized magnetic stripe or radio frequency, from a radio frequency identification (RFID) card. A magnetic stripe card is swiped, but an RFID card just needs to be nearby of the door for it to unlock.
Using key card readers to secure different rooms makes sense for businesses. These kinds of locks are easy to install and don’t require any wiring, and it’s easy to assign and later deactivate cards. This is the perfect option for businesses that need to allow access with a quick turnover, and by using key cards, businesses can eliminate the worry about lost keys. However, this type of lock is not without its security risks.
Bypassing a Key Card Lock
There are some legitimate reasons you might need to bypass a key card lock. Maybe you lost your card and need to get into your hotel room, or maybe you’re in management and trying to get into an area where the lock is malfunctioning, or the master key is not working. Of course, criminals can also learn how to bypass a key card lock, and then use that information to gain access to a locked room, steal property, or harm the occupants.
- Bypassing a key card lock is easier with older, outdated locks. Newer models are more secure, and some of these techniques don’t work. One simple way people used to bypass key card locks was with locks that had a DC power socket underneath them. By plugging an Arduino microcontroller into the socket, people could open the door. When this problem became apparent, most of these locks were replaced.
- Another method of opening a key card lock is called piggybacking, and this one is hard to stop. Piggybacking doesn’t even involve picking the lock, it’s just getting through the door after someone else unlocked it with a keycard. There are anti-passback systems, that use different strategies to keep people from sharing a card or sneaking in behind another person.
- Programming and coding is a method that involves hacking and bypassing a key card lock. This requires training in coding or programming, an authorized key card encoder, a laptop, a USB card reader, and extra key cards. The USB card reader is used to get the information from the existing key card, transfer it to the computer, and used to program information onto a new key card.
- You can also pick the lock on a key card, just as you would pick any other lock. Sliding a credit card between the door and the door frame where the lock is located, or sliding it from above or below the lock, towards the lock, and bending it toward the doorknob, you can push in the lock and open the door. This method only works if the curve of the lock faces toward you. If there’s a deadbolt engaged, you still won’t be able to open the door.
Are Any Locks Bypass-proof?
The truth is that any lock can be bypassed if the person trying to get in has enough determination. Even biometric locks like fingerprint scanners can be “picked” by someone resourceful enough to use residual fingerprints or some other method. The best way to make sure your locks are secure is to hire a locksmith well-versed in security, to install a safe lock and explain best practices for protecting its use.
Trust Accurate Security for Safe and Secure Locks
Since 1968, Accurate Security has served homes and businesses in the Lower Mainland, and we’re the Greater Vancouver area’s premier choice for safety and security. One of the few family businesses left in the industry, Accurate Security was founded by Mark Oljaca and is now led by his son, Tony Oljaca. From our beginnings as a single locksmith store, we have expanded to seven different locations, offering a wide range of products and services beyond and including locksmithing. Our nearly 70 employees have vast knowledge and expertise, and we are committed to the safety and security of our customers. Providing a complete range of safety and security systems, various products, and state-of-the-art services, we provide prompt and professional services that ensure you never have to feel unsafe in your home or workplace again. For a free security screening or to learn more about all we have to offer, get in touch with our seasoned team by calling 604.777.3888 or contacting us through our website.