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Am I at risk from lock bumping?

Many homes, offices and business in the United Kingdom are at risk from lock bumping.......

Many homes, offices and business in the United Kingdom are at risk from lock bumping.

Lock bumping is technique whereby certain locks can be opened with a specially prepared "bump" key and any suitable hitting tool. This technique has been around for some years but started receiving more peoples attention through the internet and media reports from 2005.

Lock bumping is a real risk to physical security that needs to be addressed for several reasons:

  • The number of locks at risk: Most locks containing a pin tumbler mechanism can be bumped. Many doors, gates, security barriers etc. only have this type of lock fitted rendering them vulnerable. Even so called "high security" locks could be vulnerable. The problem is a fundamental weakeness to the design of the cylinder. The strongest, most drill resistant, snap resistant lock could still be bumped. In fact some "experts" report high quality locks made from good materials are the easiest to bump. Many famous, household name lock brands have faced the indignity of having videos of their locks being bumped posted on the internet. Many rim locks contain rim cylinders that can be bumped. Also there are many locks that are operated with Euro or Oval profile cylinders that are at risk. These cylinders are found not only in door locks but in a wide range of physical security products. Many uPVC doors are fitted with these cylinders:
  • uPVC_lock_bumping
  • Media / internet exposure of lock bumping: If your reading this article you've heard of lock bumping. There is now lots of information on the internet and articles on how to make a bump key and techniques for bumping a lock. The information is free and easy to find. It is very simple for any criminally minded individual to add bump keys to his tool kit.

  • Cheap and easy: A bump key can be created for the cost of a key blank and a file and you can even use the back of the file as your hitting tool. The technique can be easily self taught and does not require any special skills. Compared to lock picking and other methods of bypassing locks, bumping is not technically challenging and much quicker to master.

  • Little evidence of intrusion: The lock should not be damaged when bumped, so it is very difficult to prove the lock has been bypassed. Some insurers require evidence of a break-in or some use of force to gain entrance to the property in the advent of a burglary, so insurance claims may be rejected.

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