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Lock Bumping

 History of a Bump Key

Lock bumping practice is a lock picking technique. Bumping a pin tumbler lock, using a specially crafted bump key allows you to open the lock.

One bump key will work for all locks of the same type of key way.

A US patent first appears in 1928 by H.R. Simpson called a “rapping” or a bump-key.

In the 1970s, locksmiths in Denmark shared a technique for knocking on a lock cylinder while applying slight pressure to the back of the lock plug.

Lock Bumping Technique

Forcing the pins with high energy would make them jump inside of the cylinder. The plug would be able to slide out freely, thus enabling the locksmith to disassemble the lock quickly.

The use of a bump key was not introduced until some time later. Bump key was first recognized as a potential security problem around 2002–2003 by Klaus Noch. Klaus Noch brought it to the attention of the German media.

After further examination of the procedure, a white paper was drafted in 2005 by Barry Wels & Rop Gonggrijp. The Open Organization Of Lockpickers (TOOOL) detailing the method and its applicability.

A patent exists for a lock device following the same principle as the bump key from 1926–1928.

The technique then attracted more popular attention in 2005. A Dutch television show, Nova, broadcast a story about the method.

The method received further publicity from TOOOL presentations at security conference talks.

Members of TOOOL and a Dutch consumer group, Consumentenbond, analyzed the capability of the method. They tested 70 different lock models, by joining trained and untrained users in a 2006 study.

Most homeowners (and most locksmiths) are still unfamiliar with the easy-to-learn method.

However, in 2005, information about lock bumping started appearing on the Internet.

As for now, any curious amateur lock picker can find how-to articles. Also by watching step-by-step videos, getting bump-key kits, and even purchasing the actual lock bumping keys online.

Locksmiths have long used the “lock bumping” technique to gain access to locks when a key is not present, it is much faster and easier than lock picking technique.

The term “bumping” comes from the fact that a specially cut key is inserted into a keyhole and then tapped or “bumped” by a screwdriver or other object.

This bumping forces the pins in the lock to jump to their shear line, and with a little torque applied to the key, the lock will open.

With the advent of the internet, this technique was made generally available and sadly, companies are selling the specially cut keys online.

Anyone with an internet connection now has access to the technology and tools needed to gain entry to your home.

Lock Bumping Facts

  • 90% of American doors use old style cylinder locks which are vulnerable to lock bumping
  • Your door lock can be lock bumped by a child
  • When lock bumping occurs, insurance companies will deny claims because there is no proof of forced entry.
  • Experts say no traditional lock is bump proof.
  • Newer locks provide less protection than older ones, because they are cleaner.
  • The only true bump­proof lock is an electronic keypad, which is too big and expensive for most people.

How to Prevent Lock Bumping

  • The very best and effective solutions to prevent lock bumping is to upgrade your locks to a high security lock such as Mul-T-Lock, or an electronic lock that does not have a conventional lock cylinder.
  • A simple chain or sliding lock will offer protection when you are in the house; and good lighting around all your entrances will also deter potential criminals.
  • For advanced home security against lock bumping, install a home security system and actually use it.
  • Take your door locks to a locksmith shop. Locksmiths can install special pins that make it much more difficult, though not impossible, to bump a lock. This is an affordable way to protect your home from lock bumping. If taking your locks to a shop is not possible, a mobile locksmith can come to your home for an additional service charge.
  • Install Residential Bump Resistant Locks. There are two good choices here. Master Lock, Bump and Pick Resistant Locks and Kwikset, Bump and Pick Resistant Locks. Both can be purchased at locksmith shops or home store.
  • Replace your locks with a light commercial grade lock. If you have Schlage locks, this will be your least costly solution. Schlages light commercial grade locks are heavy duty, pick and bump resistant lock.

Please contact us if you want to hear more about preventing lock bumping and  get more information about upgrading the security of your home or your business.

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