What Is Lock Bumping And How To Protect Against It

Lock Bumping

Lock bumping is the name of a simplified technique that can be used to open deadbolt and cylinder locks with the help of a bump key or a 999 key. The procedure is usually preferred by property burglars targeting easy victims as it requires little operation time and can be used on a plethora of different locks.

These next few lines will explain to you exactly how a bump key works and tell you how to protect yourself against the lock bumping technique.

Lock Bumping Is A Concerning Phenomenon

About two-thirds of all property break-ins are completed with no signs of forced entry, according to data issued by the Department of Justice. Every day, our locksmiths answer dozens of calls from customers who fail to take even the most basic home security measures: locking the front doors and ground-floor windows. They are practically sending out an open invitation to neighborhood burglars lurking around. The poorer the security on your entryway locks and the less careful and diligent you are with your door and window locking habits, the more likely your home is to be broken into. Lock bumping is also one particular problem we are hired to fix. Namely. People who have already had their homes be perpetrated with the help of bump keys ask us to reinforce their locks.

Anyone interested in using this technique to make their way into a person's home without their consent can learn how to do that from a YouTube tutorial. There are also plenty of webshops selling 999 keys to anyone who wishes to buy them, no questions asked, no need to show proof that you work as a locksmith or you are entitled to own such a key. Plus, if you own a 3D printer or you know someone who does, you could print out your own bump key in such a fee easy steps.

What is even more concerning is the fact that no lock can be considered 100% bump-proof. A seasoned burglar will usually bump open a lock within 20 seconds or less. Today's modern locks tend to be even more prone to various lock picking and bumping procedures compared to older models. The fact that most American homes are secured with the help of cylinder locks is not helpful, as these types of locks are even more vulnerable when subject to the bumping technique.

Brief Definition Of Bump Keys

In short, pretty easy, since even a teenager could use such a key to open a lock. Lock bumping leaves no immediate visible traces behind, so it may be a while until a homeowner will notice and reports their place has been broken into. Plus, making a bump key should not usually last more than five minutes.

Bump keys are designed to profit from the vulnerabilities of pin tumbler locks. They are standard types of keys featuring max-depth valleys in order to match the keyway of all known types of mechanical locks. The keyway is the component of the lock where the key is inserted. Provided the bump key can fit the keyway, it will also most likely unlock the respective door. It is possible to buy complete, ready-made lock bumping sets online for a small price and use it for entering a building or someone's home without owner consent. It is also possible to create a bump key using a triangular file and an older key you are no longer using. Burglars can create several 999 keys that can match different types of locks and use them to unlock around ninety percent of all known types of locks. We can include high-security locks in the same list.

How Lock-Bumping Works

The procedure is quite simple and can be completed by the least experienced burglars. The 999 key must be inserted into a lock's keyhole and tapped with the help of a heavier object such as a hammer. As a result, the pins inside the lock will be pushed over the shear line. Once all the pins will reach the right position, the lock will need to be torqued in a fitting position, which will cause the lock to open on the spot.

How To Protect Against Lock Bumping

As a homeowner or a business manager worried about the security of your property and the people and prized possessions in it, your main concern should be to lower the risk of lock bumping. Luckily, some US states forbid the selling of “locksmithing devices” to individuals who are not anyone other than lock manufacturers or to persons who do not have a legal argument to make such a purchase. Sadly, this rule is not applied by all states, which means lock bumping continues to be one of the most popular break-in solutions preferred by lots of burglars. The easy access to bump keys and the ease of use forces you to take your own protection measures against this technique:

Have your locks periodically inspected by professionals. Get in touch with a local locksmith for homes or commercial buildings and have them assess your current locks and look for signs of malfunction or damage. Replace all worn-out locks, have them re-keyed or replace them with safer alternatives. For example, if you have been using cheap, mass-produced locks on your entryways, have them replaced with high-security locks, preferable deadbolt locks. Make sure you opt for locks that feature pickguards and focus on brands like Schlage, Kaba or Medeco. These are just a few examples of lock manufacturers that create bump-proof products featuring UL 437-rated cylinders known for their increased sturdiness.

Look for a lock with pins that cannot be bumped or locks that rely on a sidebar mechanism that is more difficult to pick with the bumping technique.

Ask a locksmith to drill several pun stacks shallowed compared to the rest. This way, a burglar will nor be able to use a bump key to pick the lock because the pins are placed too high for the 999 key to be used.