Wednesday, February 11, 2009

lockpick, locksport

I've been engaged in practicing the art of lockpicking for the last couple of months. It's become an obsession with me. I'm not sure how it all started, but not surprisingly there are many resources available on the web to facilitate this "sport."

The term "locksport" was coined by a practitioner at some point to delineate between the trade as practiced by true locksmiths (or for that matter, burglars) and the hobby aspect akin to "hacking" simply for the challenge of opening a lock. The truly captivating part of locksport is the finesse one must develop to become proficient in hacking into a lock. It requires mental visualization of the internal lock mechanism, a keen sense of touch with the fingers of both hands and a moderate amount of dexterity. I have not yet mastered the art, but I can open certain deadbolt locks within 30-seconds, while some remain impenetrable to me. The "newness" of the lock and the specific manufacturer create variabilities in the "feel" and susceptibility to picking. Alarmingly, overall, lockpicking is not as difficult as you would hope. There are inherent manufacturing defects in the production of a lock that make it defeatable. I was both pleased and horrified the first time I picked the deadbolt on my own front door.

In general, if somebody wants to break into your house, they will probably opt for the fastest methodology possible, which usually involves breaking a window in the back door and gaining access that way. Also, in the world of lockpicking, there is something known as the "bump key," which is essentially a key that is cut in a certain way to facilitate a general alignment with the internal mechanism of a given lock. Once inserted, turned, and "bumped" with a hammer or tool, a bump key can open a lock in the same time it takes to use the real key. There are videos on the web of six year-olds opening a lock with a bump key after one-minute of instruction. The net of all this is, if you really want security, expensive locks are mandatory (consult a locksmith) and install a security alert system.

Oh, and don't worry about my new found skill. I intend to use it for good instead of evil.

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