Saturday, August 20, 2016

MIT Guide To Lockpicking

I've forgotten who gave this to me but here it is accessible and searchable.
Chapter 1
It's Easy 
The big secret of lock picking is that it's easy. Anyone can learn how to pick locks.
The theory of lock picking is the theory of exploiting mechanical defects. There are a
few basic concepts and de nitions but the bulk of the material consists of tricks for opening
locks with particular defects or characteristics. The organization of this manual reflects this structure. 
The first few chapters present the vocabulary and basic information about locks and lock picking. There is no way to learn lock picking without practicing, so one chapter presents a set of carefully chosen exercises that will help you learn the skills of lock picking.
The document ends with a catalog of the mechanical traits and defects found in locks and
the techniques used to recognize and exploit them. The  rst appendix describes how to make
lock picking tools. The other appendix presents some of the legal issues of lock picking.
The exercises are important. The only way to learn how to recognize and exploit the
defects in a lock is to practice. This means practicing many times on the same lock as well
as practicing on many different locks. Anyone can learn how to open desk and  ling cabinet
locks, but the ability to open most locks in under thirty seconds is a skill that requires

Before getting into the details of locks and picking, it is worth pointing out that lock
picking is just one way to bypass a lock, though it does cause less damage than brute force
techniques. In fact, it may be easier to bypass the bolt mechanism than to bypass the lock.
It may also be easier to bypass some other part of the door or even avoid the door entirely.
Remember: There is always another way, usually a better one.

Chapter 2
How a Key Opens a Lock  
This chapter presents the basic workings of pin tumbler locks, and the vocabulary used in the
rest of this booklet. The terms used to describe locks and lock parts vary from manufacture
to manufacture and from city to city, so even if you already understand the basic workings
of locks, you should look at  gure 2.1 for the vocabulary.

Knowing how a lock works when it is opened by a key is only part of what you need to
know. You also need to know how a lock responds to picking. Chapters 3 and 5 present
models which will help you understand a lock's response to picking. 

Figure 2.1 introduces the vocabulary of real locks. The key is inserted into the keyway
of the plug. The protrusions on the side of the keyway are called wards. Wards restrict the
set of keys that can be inserted into the plug. The plug is a cylinder which can rotate when
the proper key is fully inserted. The non-rotating part of the lock is called the hull. The
 rst pin touched by the key is called pin one. The remaining pins are numbered increasingly
toward the rear of the lock. 

The proper key lifts each pin pair until the gap between the key pin and the driver pin
reaches the sheer line. When all the pins are in this position, the plug can rotate and the
lock can be opened. An incorrect key will leave some of the pins protruding between the
hull and the plug, and these pins will prevent the plug from rotating....MUCH MORE (49 page PDF)