Category Archives: Security

What is a bump key and should you be concerned?

bumping keyPin tumbler design locks are probably the most popular locks in the world. These types of locks come in different sizes and finishes, can be used in exterior and interior doors, and they’re suitable for residential and commercial applications. They can also be picked quite easily with a “bump key,” sometimes also called a “999 key,” which is a normal key cut to a specific code that can then be used as a lock picking tool.

What exactly is key bumping? describes the technique in this way:

“The term “bumping” refers to the process of forcing the key to interact with the pin tumblers by “bumping” or rapping it with a plastic mallet while it is inserted into the lock. This process entails hitting the head of the key, causing it to rapidly move forward. When the key is struck correctly, each of the bottom pins is “bumped” upward for a brief instant, thus allowing the lock to be opened.”

Bump keys are nothing new. They have for many years been part in a variety of techniques used by legitimate master locksmiths to open locks that are malfunctioning or in instances where the key was lost. Professional and ethical locksmiths did not share this technique with the public.

So what’s the commotion all about then? In 2005, after a television program demonstrated the technique, the video ended up on the internet for anyone to see and by now there are many more videos available on this topic – making it extremely easy for criminals to learn about key bumping and how it’s done.

Should you be concerned? Standard pin tumbler locks offer very little resistance to key bumping, if you have a standard lock contact us. Higher security grade locks offer better protection, but they are not 100% secure if a burglar really wants to get in. Electronic and magnetic locks offer the best protection, a bump key cannot be used with these types of locks.

Finally, key bumping involves a lot of banging and is pretty noisy. Chances are that a burglar will not opt for this method to break into a residence when people are at home or neighbors are within earshot.

Have a question about the effectiveness of your pin tumbler locks in your CT residence or business? Email Jim Arsenault or call him at 860-678-9797.

Print your own key

We’ve heard of computer hackers that illegally access credit card companies’ servers and steal credit card information. We know of hackers that bring down entire websites or deface them with their own message. Now we’ve been presented with a new hacking experience – three MIT students unveiled their technique on how to duplicate a key that is supposedly “not-duplicatable.”

The electrical engineering students focused on lock maker Schlage’s Primus* locks. These locks are advertised for use in high-security environments such as government facilities, healthcare settings, detention centers, etc. and are generally thought of as being beyond the average hardware store keymaker’s ability to be reproduced. The only way to get a copy of the key is to go directly to Schlage.

With a flatbed scanner and their software the students were able to render a precise 3D model which they uploaded to the online 3D printing service that produced a working key made out of nylon for around $5, a more durable titanium key from cost them $150. iMaterialize has stated on their own blog that had they known the intentions of the students, the key would not have been printed.

At Def Con 21, the hacker conference held from August 1–4, 2013 in Las Vegas, the students released a piece of code that anyone can use to create a key with readily available 3D printing tools. Does that make these three young men evil? We think it just shows that because something worked for a long time, it shouldn’t be assumed that it will work forever. 3D printing is bound to result in new concerns for manufacturers and security professionals, but as we know with anything technology related, once it’s here you can’t stop it.

Perhaps the answer for high-security institutions is to move from mechanical locks that are vulnerable to key duplication to electronic locking devices.

*To be fair we have to point out that “high security locks” from other manufacturers would be just as vulnerable to duplication with this method as Schlage’s Primus model.

Have a question about how to implement electronic locks in your CT business or institution? Email Jim Arsenault or call him at 860-678-9797.

Security tips for home buyers

With spring time finally here the real estate market is seeing a rise in home sales as people purchase new homes. After all, it’s part of the American dream to have your own home, white picket fence and all.

First time home buyers home security

Here are three tips to improve security in a new home.

  • New home owners should pay particular attention to the type of locks the contractor used. External doors should have a deadbolt lock in addition to the regular knob type lock. Deadbolt locks make it more difficult for burglars to break in and provide better security against a forced entry. There are many different type of deadbolt locks available that are decorative, add value to the home and provide an increased level of security.
  • To deter entry through windows you’ll need more than the existing window latch. Casement windows can be secured with a device similar to a door bolt that locks with a key. To keep thieves from lifting a sliding door or window out of its tracks drive a screw through the track.
  • Consider installing a security camera – they have become very affordable and many allow the homeowner to watch the house with a smart phone.

Have a question about how to improve door locks for your Connecticut residential property? Email Jim Arsenault or call him at 860-678-9797.

Improved CT school security with electronic wireless locks

CT school safetyWith the school shooting tragedy in Newton still on everybody’s mind and while lawmakers are debating gun control, school administrators are looking for ways to increase protection for students and teachers during school hours. Parents and residents are demanding improved security and better ways to lock down schools, many towns and cities across the nation are scrambling to find a solution.

Electronic locks are one way to add security to a school building. Lock manufacturers have developed electronic locks that can achieve fast results in a lockdown situation. Wireless electronic locks can be added to an existing building that provide the same enhanced security as hard-wired locks that are used in new construction. Both types of locks can be managed through the computer network and, in emergency situations, provide fast lockdown. One lock manufacturer states that “10 seconds is the longest it will take to initiate lockdown” when using one of their wireless lock models.

Controlling access using a wireless lock also provides other benefits to schools, such as the ability to control or restrict entry to individuals during certain hours and provide an audit trail of who entered the building.

The Enfield Board of Education voted to place an armed guard in every Enfield school starting in September. Do you feel that this will deter shool shootings?

Have a question about how wireless locks can be used for Connecticut schools? Email Jim Arsenault or call him at 860-678-9797.
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Door locks go hi-tech

Lock manufacturers have come up with a new way for homeowners to control and protect their home by combining home automation technology with a way to manage it when they’re away from home during working hours, or even on vacation.

With this combination locks, lights, thermostats, and cameras can be controlled from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection available.

How can this technology be utlizied?

The homeowner can:

  • Unlock a door for a guest when away (at the office, out shopping, etc.).
  • Assign housekeepers or babysitters scheduled lock codes for one-time or limited access.
  • The system can send text or email alerts when something happens at home that needs the owner’s attention.
  • Use wireless cameras to view what’s going on when away.
  • Trigger the lights to turn on when a door is unlocked.
  • Easily set schedules to activate lights and manage temperatures for maximum energy efficiency.

Have a question about how hi-tech door locks can be used for your Connecticut residential property? Email Jim Arsenault or call him at 860-678-9797.