Locksport : The practice of studying and opening locks for fun and knowledge

I became interested in locksport a few years back. I had always thought locks were fascinating, and had even managed to open a few very basic locks using keys from other locks (a rather crude form of jiggling I suppose). It wasn't until recently though, that I actually bought some tools, and started trying to really learn it.

I recommend anyone who has time, patience, and enjoys puzzles take this up as well. Not only is it an interesting hobby, it will help you to notice the security around you. It will open your eyes as to how secure your physical objects really are, and help you to better plan for security in the future.

I want to make a special note here though, about a few common misconceptions:

Everyone that picks locks is a criminal in some capacity

Not only is that a giant generalization, it's patently false. It's sort of an odd ideal to hold anyway, because most people who think this, don't apply the same stigma against licensed locksmiths. Many locksmiths are actually members of the locksport community. Not only that, but anyone who does their research will find that the locksport community has strict rules against breaking the law.

Locksport is bad because groups involved often expose security flaws

Anyone in the IT industry has likely heard the phrase "security through obscurity". The same concept is unfortunately often applied in the physical security. Much like in software security, it is almost always the wrong way to go. It is true that they expose lock flaws, but that is what pushes companies to fix those flaws in the future. It is also what allows your security teams to find out about them and judege if they need to start replacing locks. There are differences, such as the time tables involved. For instance, a software bug can be fixed in short order, and the updates pushed out. A flaw in a lock is going to require purchase of new equipment installation of it, and possibly new training for users. Luckily, since the locksport community is usually the good guys, they usually coordinate with the lock companies to determine when information should be public knowledge.

Lastly, and also quite important:

Lock picking is a skill only locksmiths and criminals would even bother to learn

Not only is it a great hobby, losts of fun, and quite enlightening; it's not really something criminals use anyway! Lockpicking is used often in Hollywood productions, but is almost never used for actual break-ins. The reason is simple. It will almost always take longer to pick a lock, than to break a window. In truth, it's fair to say that most people that are good at lock picking, are not (and have never been) criminals at all.

Anyhow, I plan to publish information about what equipment I have, what locks I have managed to open (i'm not very good), and what resources are available for anyone who is looking to get involved. For now though, a great starter book is Deviant Ollam's "Practical Lock Picking: A Physical Penetration Tester's Training Guide", ISBN : 1597496111.

For the moment, here are some links that have proven very handy:

For buying tools:
Deviant Ollam's site

For learning:
Lockpicking 101 forum
Deviant Ollam's site (lots of great videos)
Jon King's site

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