If you’ve ever taken the time to stop and look you may have noticed that some locks are better than others. This means using a lock from your local store isn’t necessarily going to protect you and your stuff. This is where high-security locks come into play. High-security locks are harder to compromise and will help increase your lock picking skills.
What Makes Them Better Than Your Average Everyday Lock?
The first difference you’ll notice between an everyday lock and a high-security lock is the price. High-security locks are more expensive thanks to their complex internal components. This provides a level of extra security that everyday locks can't compete with.
You can buy everyday locks at any home improvement store or big box stores like Bunnings or Kmart. Most of the locks you will find in these stores are cylinder locks. These locks rely on conventional pin stacks and sidebar mechanisms. They provide the most basic level of protection.
These basic locks are also susceptible to unauthorized access. If you only need basic protection, everyday locks are a good solution. This is because they can be re-keyed by a locksmith with minimal effort. This can be especially helpful if you tend to lose your keys or are starting out in lock picking.
Are Standard Locks Secure?
Why are most locks standard? In your community there is a level of trust. A standard lock will be more than sufficient for the majority of people. One of the benefits of lock sport is to understand weaknesses in your home or business security so we can make improvements.
There are three common methods an intruder may use to open an everyday lock without the keys:
- Bumping. This method opens a lock using a specially designed key (a bump key). This key forces the tumblers inside the cylinder to align. Once the tumblers of the cylinder align, the lock is easily opened. With this method, an intruder can open the lock with no evidence of tampering.
Picking. Lock picking requires the use of a special kit. This kit provides the tools needed to align the pins in the cylinder. Once these pins are aligned the lock will pop open, leaving very little evidence of tampering.
- Drilling. This is a more intrusive method of opening an everyday lock. It uses an ordinary drill that you pick up from a home improvement store. The drill bores through the cylinder of the lock, opening it. Unlike bumping, drilling leaves behind evidence of tampering.
Remember the rules! Only pick locks you own!
This is, by no means, a comprehensive list of the ways to open an everyday lock without a key. There are locks designed to be resistant to such methods of access. However, the protection gained with these locks is still lagging when compared to high-security locks.
High-security locks are more complex than everyday locks. As their name suggests, they are much more difficult to break into. They use a complicated system of pins that include either diagonal or horizontal access. This is a system that holds its own against the traditional methods of opening a lock without a key.
The complex system of pins is only part of the equation on how these locks provide extra security. Here are some other characteristics that make it difficult to open a high-security lock:
- Forced Entry Resistance. The design of these locks often includes reinforced rods and plates in the cylinder. This makes provides a layer of protection against drilling to gain unauthorized access.
- Restrictive Keyways. The design of these locks boasts narrow keyways. This makes it difficult to use tools within the lock. This prevents unauthorized access via picking.
- Key Control. High-security locks come with registered keys. Registering keys means that you must give permission to duplicate a key.
- Manipulation Resistance. The design of these locks means that it would take a longer time to gain access to the lock. The design also means that the only way to gain access requires tools that will make noise. This alone is a deterrent for intruders, giving that extra bit of security.
- Reinforced Doorframe Plates. These plates provide an extra level of protection. They help keep the doorframe secure and prevent an intruder from kicking in the door. This is a design feature aimed at protecting the integrity of the high-security lock.
The design of the high-security lock is carefully crafted. The methods used to gain unauthorized access are proactively addressed through design elements. However, rather than try to make the locks undefeatable, the design of high-security locks makes it too time-consuming and too expensive.
So Why Get a High-Security Lock?
High-security locks are a great alternative for both your home and your office. The unique features of these locks work to provide a high level of protection against intruders.
In your business, installing high-security locks almost serves as an insurance policy. These locks protect your business from theft, a problem that can cripple a business. These locks also ensure that private paperwork and data remain protected.
In your home, this means you, your loved ones, and your possessions are safe. You can sleep at night knowing that you are safe and that an outsider won’t easily open the locks on your doors.
Don’t Depend on The Label
The design and labeling of some locks can easily lull you into believing they are high-security. Walk into your local home improvement store or big box store and you'll know what we mean. Locks that claim they are high-security and will give you extra protection. The truth of the matter? True high-security locks are not found in these stores. Getting a lock that will provide the extra protection needed requires a lockshop or a locksmith.
When you're in the market for a high-security lock, here are some things to look for:
Hardened Steel Bolts. These can withstand high levels of force, preventing the lock from bending or snapping, or being cut.
Drill Protection. Make sure your set screws and the shear line of the lock have protection. It is common practice to protect these areas with hardened steel ball bearings.
Metal Content. You want a lock that is heavy and does not use plastic components as a cost-saving measure. Locks with empty space or plastic parts reduce your level of protection.
Bypass Resistance. While they may be convenient, they weaken the security provided by the lock. Make sure you research the model you are considering.
Registered Keys. This prevents keys from being duplicated without permission. Fewer duplicate keys means less access to what is being protected.
Before purchasing any high-security lock, make sure you review all specs on the lock model you are considering. This will help you identify any weak points with the lock. This also helps you ensure the lock is, in fact, a high-security lock--a necessity if you want true protection.