Monday, July 21, 2014

Pick The World, My Lock Picking Cherry Pop

For my birthday a few months back my roommate picked me up a really nifty portable lockpick kit (  It took me a month to actually use it but from the moment I picked my first lock I was hooked.  Here is a picture I sent to my roommate/good friend after I got through my first door.  I would give you more detail but I may or may not have had permission to pick this lock.
From this moment on I was hooked. The feeling you get when you pop open a lock without the key is like no other.  Something about getting myself into places I'm not supposed to be has always given me my jollies.  I seem to be addicted to getting into things people try to keep me out of.  Even if all thats in that place is a hot water heater.  I quickly realized that I live in the perfect place for a lockpicker.  In less than a minute walk I can be on an abandoned base full of buildings with deadbolts, standard doorknob locks and padlocks.  It is lockpick paradise. So I strolled out there and out of pure dumb luck I was able to "acquire" a few padlocks to practice on.  Before I go any further I would like to make clear that I have no interest in any sort of illegal activity.  This base has been abandoned for many years and all of the buildings are trashed.  I am white hat all the way and my interest in security is more on the "know your enemy" end. The very first thing I did with these padlocks is remove one of the locking mechanisms and make it a little easier to hold in my lap and practice on. In comes the modified growler.

I got to the point where I can pick though this lock in less than a minute about 85% of the time.  I quickly realized that this was a bit easier to pick than in any real world scenario.  A day later I went to my local hardware store and picked up a handful of locks.  A standard master lock, a miniature master lock, a deadbolt and a standard door lock. I quickly defeated every lock in here and continue to practice on them to this day with the addition of a few others I have acquired in my travels.  The only lock I was not able to get through the first day was the standard door lock.  I then looked at the package and realized this was a pick resistant lock.

Sorry for the upside down picture but I am tarted and took it this way on my phone. Now at this point the hacker in me really kicked in and I was determined to beat this lock.  I was going to look it up online but I decided to try on my own first.  Well I shouldn't say on my own my roommate gave me the advice that helped the most and told me to inspect the key looking for the secret to this "pick resistant" lock.  The first thing I noticed is on every attempt I got a false set on the front tumbler.  I took the key and looked at it and noticed the front tumbler does not get touched by the key.

Keeping this in mind I began picking from the back and was very careful not to touch the front tumbler.  Within a few minutes of playing I was able to get the lock to open.  This was an even more amazing feeling than getting through a normal pin and tumbler lock.  So here is the time where I hand out what little advice I have on lockpicking.  First things first never give up. If a key can open it, you can open it. I also highly recommend giving this pdf a read though.  It was by far the piece that helped me the most and it has tons of great advice(  The biggest thing for me was getting used to how little tension you have to apply to pin and tumbler locks.  The best piece of advice I received on the tensioner was to get the entire tip of your finder on it and as far down as possible.  This helps you feel every time a pin sheers.  I was told that if your finger turns white you are applying to much pressure.  You want just enough to turn see the lock turn the slightest bit.  You will be amazed at how little pressure it takes.  I was told that beginners should use more tension in order to feel the pins out better but I found this to not be true.  Thats just me though everyone has a different style.  Lockpicking is like everything else in life.  Practice makes perfect.  Here are some more pictures of my current setup for anyone who is interested.

Let me explain the real fake door.  The story is most likely only funny to me as I was the one placing the call but I had fun.  A few weeks ago I give my dad a call and explain to him that I want to make a miniature door that I could fit a handful of deadbolts and doorknobs on.  He is a very good carpenter so I usually ask his advice on these types of things.  In comes the suspicion.  Now my parents know that I am into security but they had never heard me bring up lockpicking at this point in time as I have not lived with them for almost a year now.  I explained my new hobby and surprisingly my dad was really into it.  I should explain that my parents took some time to come around to the idea of there son wanting to be a professional hacker.  When I first got in trouble in high school in 2004 for stealing the usernames and passwords of 90% of my schools staff they became very worried about my obsession with gaining access to machines I should not be on.  I feel the need to point out I did not get caught due to my school having a great IT team I was ratted on by someone who I thought was a friend but in reality was jealous I beat him in the who can get the most passwords race.  It was not a race, I won and I won by miles.  I was very lucky that the head of the IT team owed me a favor and decided to keep the incident under wraps as long as I handed over my list of passwords, fixed the hole that allowed me to get all the passwords, and agreed not to repeat my actions.  I think the fact that a single 16 year old was able to break though every (shitty) barrier that an entire team of adult IT professionals had setup embarrassed them a little. The funny part is in these days I was not nearly as good as I am today(still not nearly at my max potential even to this day) and the attack I pulled off was not sophisticated at all.  Over the years my parents realized that I had never have any intention of harming anything or using any of the things I do to harm anyone or anything.  I just strongly feel that the world needs good guys to find the security holes before the bad guys do and that is where us white hats come in.  This was not an easy concept to explain to them as they assumed I was trying to manipulate them but in recent years they have come around.  So back to the story my father and I spent an hour in his wood shop setting up this fake door.  He was all about the project and got more into it than I did.  It was a wonderful thing to see.  Later that day he had me show him the ropes and he actually managed to pick though a master lock.  This was very fun for me to watch and as much as he tried to hide it you could tell he was just as into it as I was.  Thats it for this rant people, thanks for reading!

  If you want to know more about me or you are looking for someone with my skill set my contact info can be found at

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