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The Lock Blog

Welcome to The Lock BlogWe here at Bright Lock and Key decided to add a section about all the new and interesting locks that are coming out.  Partly because we want to show you all the expensive locks that you should buy from us, but mostly because we like different, and we thought that you might as well.  

Every couple of weeks I am going to post a new and interesting lock. It will include a pic and description of what it is and what makes it the most awesome thing you've seen since green mustard.  If you happen to run across a fun and interesting lock on your internet adventures then send us an email about it. There is an email form on our contact page.

So check back about 20 times a day, not because my number of internet hits puts me higher on the google charts, but because you never know when i might just post the next lock you can't live without. 

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USB Electronic Key Impressioner

For locksmiths, making a replacement car key without its identifying code can be a grueling procedure. Steve Randall should know—he spent a summer during college working for his father's locksmithing company, watching experts struggle with the process. Lacking the identification codes, called bittings, that tell them which patterns to cut into blanks, locksmiths must rely on trial and error to make a perfect fit. Inspired, Randall and a friend, Ted Schwarzkopf, recently unveiled a solution: the Electronic Key Impressioner. 

The Impressioner consists of a sensor that goes into the lock and sends information back to a computer via USB about the location of the lock's tumblers—a corresponding computer program comes up with the code, depending on the make of car you've entered beforehand. Once you know the code, a key-cutting machine can use it to carve up a key.

Some keys are more complicated than this system can anticipate. For example, many car keys have transponders in them, so even if a newly cut key can open a car, it won't be able to start it. But tools exist already for locksmiths to crack transponder codes—and there are plenty of cars out there that still use simple, old-fashioned key technology. 

It doesn't take a huge leap of logic to note that what could be a perfect invention for locksmiths could easily turn into a payday for thieves—and a nightmare for car companies. There are plenty of "for locksmiths only" tools out there that make breaking into cars easy (for people who locked their keys in the car, for example). But the ability to fabricate the perfect key without getting a code from the manufacturer could make it easier for thieves to resell stolen cars. If you're stealing a car these days, there's a good chance you're not bothering to actually pick the locks, but if you are, your job is about to get a little easier.  Right now it only works on Fords with simple metal keys (like, say, a 1967 Shelby GT500), but the hope is to expand the device to support other manufacturers and, possibly, electronic keys in the future. It will be available to locksmiths and authorized security professionals in 2010. Sorry, Nick, you'll have to find another way to get into Eleanor.

So Randall and Schwarzkopf need to plan for problems on two fronts—on the one hand they need to make sure their device stays in the right hands, on the other, they need to make sure it stays relevant. After all, once such a surefire way to replicate car keys exists, how long will it be until companies change their lock technology completely? 

As far as security is concerned, the device's first line of defense will be the same as all professional lock-picking devices—it will only be for sale to state-licensed locksmiths. But if that doesn't work out, the company will be able to shut down rogue systems. When the software starts up, it will have to connect to a database full of updated key codes—that system will have the authority to brick the device remotely. 

Reader Comments (5)

There are several sites on the Internet to get lock tools that should not be available to the general public but they are. Nothing is really safe anymore; if you want access to something bad enough it wouldn't be that difficult for someone to figure a way in. Even if there was control on the tools, someone would leak the technique, a home-made version, or some other work-a-around

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBoise Handyman

This looks like a fantastic tool! Does it actually work?

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLocksmith London - Expert

I had a lock changed by a locksmith cost me £45. There are many cowboys out there, looks like you unfortunately got one of them.

August 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlocksmiths

I can not speak for service pricing in your area, but here in Toronto (Canada) minimum regular day time service rates vary from $70.00 to $232.00 and gives you between the first 30 to 60 minutes of the serviceman's time. after hours these rates generally double. This is a minimum rate regardless of how quickly the work is performed. What you are paying for is an insured professional, with experience. It is not what they do it is what they know. If it was as simple as swiping "this cardboard type thingy" then you could have done that yourself? There are considerable operating expenses involved in service industries, advertising, insurance, maintenance, repair and acquisition of vehicles and equipment. The list goes on and on. We as customers are the first to complain about a lack of customer service from large corporations that offer the "cheapest price" but then when you get outstanding expedient service from a specialist you complain about the price? I would suggest you open up your local business directory and call around for pricing from several different company's. If you really want to know that is! If not I would suggest you consider yourself served!locksmiths

August 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterarnaveed

Protect the people you love and things you value most.

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffalo Locksmith

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