Misstep 24: What an Impression

Poor Key Choice

Here we are, in an elevator riding up to our hotel room. I’m not a firefighter, in fact — the closest I’ve come is putting out a campfire with a hose. But for some reason, this tubular lock caught my attention. Maybe it is because some companies use the elevator floor restrictions as a security measure? I’ve been in many 5-star hotels that require your room key to get to some room floors. Shucks, that sounds hard.

The Misstep?

Tubular locks look difficult to pick, since after all, you’d have to pick them n times (where n is the pin count) in order to get a full rotation, right? Also, conventional lock picks won’t work here.

Well, that part is true — a typical tension wrench and a rake/hook won’t get you there. But there are tools that will. If you’ve ever bothered to watch the “Lockpicking Lawyer” on YouTube (you should) you’ll see how easy it is to take one of these tools and “impression” the lock. This means that you simply press this tool into the lock while varying tension and it opens. You then gain access to the elevator controls and can tell it to go wherever you want.

The Solution

Varying the spring tension or balancing the pin stacks make impressioning the lock nearly impossible. In this way, people can’t ride the Wonkavator into the middle of Munich.

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Robert Lerner

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