Pick a Lock in SECONDS with a Bump Key

This week, no residence is safe, because you

are going to commit crime.

This episode of Scam School brought to you

by Netflix and GoDaddy.

Warning-- the following episode may contain eggs, gluten, soy

and crime.

Welcome to Scam School, the only show dedicated

to social engineering at the bar and on the street.

I'm your host Brian Brushwood,

And this week, I mean it.

We're back to hardcore crime, because you

will go to jail if you have used what you're about to learn.

Because we're about to find out how

to use everyday objects that you have in your house

right now to pick locks.

All right.

Finally, we get to learn from a true expert.

Justin, how're you doing?

It's good to see you.

All right, so we wanted to start off

by talking about what kinds of locks

are easy to either pick or bump.

There's a bunch of different ways to open locks, right?


And what are the least safe that people don't realize

aren't very secure at all.

Just about anything you can buy in a hardware store,

Home Depot, any kind of department-- anything

under $75.

{LAUGHS] Oh, really.


So pretty much everybody watching,

their lock on the front door at home

is easy to pick or bust into.


And you can have an expensive lock,

but it could have an inexpensive cylinder in it.

So don't be fooled by--

Explain to me that part.

Talk to me about the cylinder.

That's the center part of the lock?

Yes, that's where you put the key.

And that's what he operates the bolt,

so you can lock and unlock it.

But you can have different brand cylinders with high-end locks.

So you might have a high-end, very fancy pants

secure lock, but the cylinder's junk.


And then you could just pop it right open.


Like for instance, Baldwin is a very exclusive brand,

very expensive.

And you can have a very inexpensive cylinder in there.

So the lock may be secure.

It might be a nice lock, nice looking,

but it's still very easy to open.

Now, I've done a little bit of poking around,

and I learned one way to open these locks, the one we're

going to talk about first.

But before we do, can you give me an overview?

What are the different ways that you

could get past a lot like this.

Well, there's traditional picking,

like these kind of pick pulls here,

which I'm sure everybody's seen on James Bond.

TV, this pick gun is very popular.

We can drill them.

Just drill it straight through?

Yeah, very easily.

You can bump key it.


And that's the one I learned about was what the bump key.

So explain to me the principle, because I kind of understand

and was able to clumsily mess with it.

But what is the principle of how a bump key works?

It's actually very simple.

You have these teams keys, and the keys

will have spacing and depths.

This particular one has six cuts on it.

And there'll be zero to nine depths.

So from the top to the bottom is spaced out in 1,500 increment.

And it'll be zero to nine. [? Skip to 10. ?]

So what they do is they cut all nines on there,

which is the deepest.

And these little bumps, when you pull

it out about 1/16 of an inch and you

whack it with something, applying slight turning

pressure, the tumblers all get hit at the same time

and snap it.

So this is the lock.

Yeah, this is a typical cylinder.

This would be the housing, which up in the top chamber,

would be these strings.

And drivers, which we call top pins.

And I guess all of the brass part

here would be up in the cylinder.

Be up inside this.

All of this silver part would be-- what?

Down in here?

Inside the plug, the cylinder plug.

And so it's only when they're lined up just

like you see here, because you can see on that key.

So you put the key in, and it pushes all these--

It lines them up perfectly even, which

creates what we call the sheer line and allows it to turn.

And that's how different combinations work.

So I guess when you put in a normal key like this,

everything gets lined up, and then it holds in that place.

And you could turn it open like that.


But the difference is with a bump key--

A bump key, what you're doing is it's putting all the tumblers

on, which is dropping them all below the sheer line.

And when you snap them all simultaneously

it creates a gap.

It snaps the bottom to the top pin and the spring.

And it will create a slight gap.

Just for a split second.

And it allows it to turn.

It's like playing pool.

You can hit the ball.

The ball stands still and the other ball goes flying.

It's the same principle.

So in this case, all of these are getting hit

and it's transferred the energy up and in the spring,

so all of these go up, just long enough,

just for that fraction of a second,

because they're spring loaded.

And if you hit it just right, it'll create that gap.

Dude, that's unreal.

That's unreal.

And so we actually have a faux door here.

I was going to give it a try, and see if I could actually

pull off the bump key.

Sound good?

You got it.

Now, normally this is where we continue our graduate level

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So this is what we put together.

Actually my intern, Chad, made this.

This is the actual lock from my house

that we put on a dummy door.

And then I went online, and I Googled--

all I did was Google "bump key," and I got for like $8 a set

of house bump keys.

And in fact, I went ahead and got the expanded one.

Now, this is what surprised me.

The bump keys that they sent, some of them

were the type that would go in a house lock, but others of them,

you had some that I know--


Like this one is a mailbox--


--bump key.

And this guy, what would with one be used for?

It looks like a padlock, master padlock.

So you can bump master padlocks as well?


OK, interesting.

I'll ask you more about that.

Not all locks are going to be as easy as others,

but it's possible with a little bit of practice

you might get them.



And this one looks like those ones that always say

"do not duplicate," for commercialized institutions.


That looks like a commercial removable core

key, which, you know, got to give it a shot.

It's possible.

[LAUGHS] Well, speaking of giving it a shot,

this is what I have.

This is the actual key that goes in.

And so we put i in.

And I only practiced a little bit.

So I'm probably going to screw this

up, and look like a big, dumb dummy.

But I notice that there is a couple of different--

and I guess these are all branded?

Can you tell by the shape of the key?

How do you know which key to put in.

If it goes in the lock, that should do it.

OK, so I guess there's different grooves.

And so like this one doesn't go in, but this one does go in.

And the way I learned was that you

can put the key all the way in, and you pull it one notch out.

And then you just give it the slightest bit

of torque to the right.

You don't want to push it too hard or it won't go anywhere.

But if you just barely put it to the right

and then give it a whack, then it should work, right?

Yeah, you're pushing it back in.

And that's snapping all the pins simultaneously

with the little bumps left over, and shooting them up.

And that will create the bump.

I guess this is not the quietest way to open a lock.

It only takes a [INAUDIBLE].

Here we go, just like that.

And so this is a case where for $8,

I was able to get a whole set of them.

But then I found out that you can actually

make your own bump key.

And we took a different key, in this case, one

for a completely different lock.

But even though the keys, the pins weren't right,

it would fit inside.

And I guess all we did was take a file

and file down all the grooves, all the spacing--

All the spacing in the depths.

And then we just sort of added a ramp on each side.

And I was shocked.

I thought for sure, some little jackass

thing that we'd made at home wouldn't possibly work.

And again, I got to give credit to my intern,

Chad, who did all this.

It's a really light touch.

Yeah, it's very light.

If you give it too much pressure, you bind the tumblers

and it won't snap up.

So it's almost like a timing issue.

You have to give it really light or be

able to find that sweet spot where you turn it

kind of simultaneously.

How hard should you need to hit it.

You get a good even--

Oh, there we go!

Home version works, just like that.

Now the thing is that each trial, I push all the way in

and then I have to take it out each time.

But you were saying there's a way to get around that, right?

Well, sometimes you could use an O-ring and just rap on it.

Now is this any kind of special thing you need

or just any kind of gasket, any kind of rubber gasket?

Any old ring that you could stick on there.

Anything that would create about 1/16 of an inch spacing

that will compress.

And I guess the idea being that when

you have the O-ring in there, it sort of automatically

pushes the key back out after each hit.


So in this case, you put on the O-ring.

Oh, that's so much easier!

Because when you have the O-ring on there,

you're able to just keep twisting to the right.

You still have to twist it kind of slightly,

but you can just keep hitting it over and over again,

and it automatically works.

That is scary-easy.

The advantage is you can manipulate

the turning pressure easier.

OK, because you're not trying to do a timing thing or anything.

No, you're not trying to do timing anymore.

You're just working on concentrating

on how much pressure you give.

Now turn it.

So it really is all in the very light touch.

It's all in the turning.

Holy cow.

That is unreal.

So at this point, everybody is thinking

there's no way anyone can get in my house.

I mean, everything is-- it's over with.

All locks are junk.

But I wanted to find out.

You said there are bump-proof locks.

Yes, there are several.

Well, good.


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All right.

Before we find out which locks are bump-proof.

I know everyone at home wants to know--

if they don't want to spend the $8, if they don't want to order

something online, how can they actually just make

their own key right at home?

Well, depending on the brand lock you want to bump open,

you would first need a blank.

Now, if you can't get a blank, most places

won't sell you a blank.



Like you people come to the shop and they want to buy a blank,

we don't sell blanks.


Unless its a reputable force.

Who knows what they're going to do with them?


There's other things other than bumping

you could do with them that you don't want to sell blanks.

Of course.


You can always just get a copy of your key.


Right, so assuming this is your copy, what you want to do

is take a file and file them all down

to the deepest part which is usually

the beginning of the milling.

What kind of file do we want?

You'd want to use a round file.

And what's really important is when

you're creating a bump key is that you

try to keep them exactly aligned, where they are.

The positioning, the-- what we call the-- spacing.

If the spacing is off, and one of these bumps

is over to far and one's over one way.

It's not going to bump all the tumblers at the same time.

So your bump key is not going to be as effective,

or maybe not work at all.

And then you want to keep them all exactly the same

as much as you can.

So that's the trick of--

Now, how important is this is the diagonal of the slope?

If they look more like little rounded teeth,

is that not going to work as well?

As long as that they're all as symmetrical

as you can get them, they're going to probably work.


But if it's really sloppy, and they're all different.

And one's straighter, one more rounded,

it's probably not going to be as effective.

So, like in this case, this one worked,

although it wasn't quite as nice as the machine one.

But this one we just did, like you said,

we just try to make them as evenly spaced as possible.

We filed it all the way down to the base of the groove.

Which you experienced with the other key.

The other key, better better.

Works a little better.

Much better, yeah.

Because that was cut on a machine--



With the O-ring, yeah.

Well, cool.

So again, as long as it's the same manufacturer, I guess?

Does it have to be the same manufacturer

or how do you tell--

The key has to go in.

As long as it fits in, you're totally god.

As long as it fins in.

And the industry standard is a five pin key.

So there's five cuts.

So a commercial--

So five cuts down, one two three four five.

I have five positions.

Now, commercial, you could run into six.

So if it's a commercial, a condos or something,

it's possible that you could have six.

But again, it's the same principle.

Same principle.

Got it.

So you're going to go get a copy of your key,

because it fits in another lock that you want to practice on,

if it's a commercial lock, you may never get it,

because it might be a six.

You don't know.

Just because it fits, it doesn't mean

that it's not six chambers.




So that's one thing to keep an eye on.

All right, so take an old key that fits in your lock,

file it down just like that, and--

Keep it as close as you can.

Measure it.

Just start playing with it.

OK, so now that we're all terrified

that everyone can break into our house

at any time, what do I want to get?

If I want to make sure that it's not bumpable.

Well, Schlage is a common brand.

And they make high security locks, one is Primus.

They have another version called Everest,

which is also made by Schlage.

And this is becoming the new industry standard.

In a few years or so, you'll probably

start seeing this more available at Home Depot and such.

And what makes it bump-proof, is they

have an extra side milling in the side.

And there's an extra tumbler on the side.

There's an extra pin.

This one's bottom tumbler.

There's a bottom one that rides on that groove.

And that is what the bump key will not work on.

Very clever.

So it's a dual-locking cylinder now.

There's two locking parts.

With the Primus, it has a whole bunch of--

Holy crap.


So there's multiples, and there's

a sidebar that comes in from the side that allows it

to-- when these all line up-- it allows the sidebar go

into the side of the plug and turn it.

And then it also has your traditional pins

that are bumpable.

The side ones are not.

That's brilliant.

So there's this.

There's Medeco is a high security

lock, which uses, what we call, bi-axle.

And if you look at these teeth, you'll see that they're angled.

Oh wow, they are!

So this is similar to this, but they've

incorporated it into the teeth.

So the tumblers fit these notches, and they twist.

And in the side of each tumbler, there's a cut out.

And when all of them are twisted right,

at the right depth as well, it allows the sidebar to come in.

It's almost the difference between,

like, this is a two-dimensional kind of key,

and that's like got three-dimensional aspects

to it.

Yeah, so it's kind of complicated.

So if you want a bump-proof lock,

you're going to spend how much?

This locks usually runs about maybe $150?

As opposed to a $20 piece of junk like that.

And now I mean, when you feel this, and it's all solid.

You can feel the weight of this.

Holy cow.

I guess is this like the gold standard right here?

This would be more of a commercial--

you can get it without a key.

So you're not bumping anything.

Oh yeah.

I guess, you know, maybe that's the future.

You're not picking it.

You're not bumping it.

You're not doing anything.

This is a commercial lock you'll see

this lock in a lot of places.

The back door, Safeway, any kind of department store.

Across the country, this is a very common-- it's called


Programmable, change the combination, lock people out,

time activated.

Do a lot of neat stuff.

Well, I know we're going to be learning

more ways to pick locks.

But thank you so much, Justin.

That was fricking awesome.

All right, Brian.

Thank you.


I can not be clear enough.

Have a blast, practice on your own doors,

but don't go breaking into places you don't belong.

Because it is a crime, and you will go to jail.

Don't blame us.

We don't need the lawsuits.

By the way, if you have any success stories or failure

stories, you can post them at the boards

at revision3.com/scamschool, where you can see all

of our episodes right back to Episode 1.

If you're doing the Twitter thing,

you can follow the show at Twitter.com/scamschool or find

out when I am in your hometown, posting Scam School meet-ups,

at twitter.com/shwood.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Scam School,

write me at Brian@revision3.com.

And don't forget, we'll be having future episodes

where we're going to be learning other ways to pick locks.

But until then, join us next week

when we get a mathematical proof on exactly why Macs

are better than PCs.

Just kidding.

Macs suck.