Bump Keying Security Tips

Bumping works by taking advantage of the way lock pins work.  Every lock is made up of a series of pin stacks, spring loaded stacks of pins (the key pin and the driver pin), which align when the right key is inserted. This allows the lock cylinder to turn. When either there is no key or the wrong key is in the lock, the misalignment of the pins makes sure that the cylinder can’t be turned. This is changed as a result of lock bumping.

Initially, the special bump key is placed in the keyway, one notch out.  When the key is bumped inward, its forced deeper in, and its specially made teeth jiggle all the lock’s pins. The key pins transmit this bumping to the spring loaded driver pins which separate from their key pins for a split second.  Despite the short time in which this happens, applying a light force to the key will allow the cylinder to turn, rendering the lock useless.

Lock bumping may pose as a threat to ourselves and our community. Fortunately, this danger can be eliminated with the use of locks that have been designed to be bump proof.  However, the highest quality of non-bump proof locks on the market are considered to be the ones in the greatest danger of being bumped. This may be due to the fact that they are made in a more precise manner which allows their pins move freely and smoothly, thus making bumping a whole lot easier.  Hardened steel locks, which are harder to open conventionally, are considered to be at a higher risk of being bumped. Despite this, their high quality pins aren’t likely to be damaged as a result of bumping.  Where cheaper locks would jam, a high end lock is actually more bumpable!

There are several designs that are considered to be a lot less vulnerable to an attack.  Security pins, like the mushroom style used in many bump proof locks, make bump keying a lot more difficult. Locks that use rotating disks or magnets also cannot be attached in this way. Despite this, security pins alone can’t completely make a lock bump proof. A bump key has to have the same blank profile as the lock it was made for making locks with registered or restricted key profiles are a lot safer. It is illegal to get the right key blanks unless  registered with the appropriate locksmith organization.

Another method used that can keep locks from being bumped are trap pins. When not supported by a pin, these special pins jam the lock, thus preventing entry.

Another method used that can keep locks from being bumped is shallow drilling. This is done by one or more pin stacks being drilled a little more shallowly than the rest. This method prevents the key from bumping those pins since they are too high for the technique to work.

There are several different brands of locks that are advertised as being bump proof; however, there are only two manufactures who actually make these bump proof locks: Mul-T-Lock and Medeco. Their special cylinder designs and other security measures make using a bump key almost impossible. While you may have seen videos or other information suggesting that these locks can be bumped, you should remember that the locks being opened may have been prepared beforehand, removing some of the proprietary security measures.

It is advised not to trust videos or other claims that suggest locks can be bumped unless you all the evidence in front of you. Many times the lock has been tampered with in advance.  In most cases, unless the cylinder is under the same condition it is used in, the assumed “bumping” is most probably a fake.  A really good lock is almost impossible to bump.

Locks from Medeco and Mul-T-Lock provide high security and are an excellent choice against bumping and other attacks. It is advised not to buy an ordinary high quality lock without anti-bumping measures in place.  This lock is actually easier to open using a bump key!  The same features that prevent the lock from failing or jamming make it susceptible to this lock picking trick.

Many people are unaware of the serious effect of bump keying. Bump keying is a major problem that could compromise your security.  In order to prevent associated problems, it is important to replace locks that are vulnerable to being bumped with ones that are more resistant.  Give yourself and your family the safety and security they deserve. Rest peacefully knowing that even the most determined of lock bumpers won’t be able to open your doors.

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