It’s a wonder why people even bother with normal locks anymore, considering the multiple ways burglars can go through them. First, there was lock snapping; now there’s something called key bumping making the rounds forums and information sites. What is this new technique of lock picking, and is it something regular folks should worry about?
The answer to the second question is simple – yes, everything that has the potential of giving people unauthorized access to the home is something everyone should worry about. But, what is key bumping, and how do lock picks do it? As it turns out, the technique is quite simple if the person using the technique knows a bit of physics, and has the right equipment.
The Shear Line
Talk to any locksmith in Miami or other cities in Florida, and they’ll tell you that tumbler and cylinder locks work by using pin alignments to make a lock unique to a key. There are multiple pins with different heights inside a lock, which move up and down when someone inserts a key. When the specific grooves of the key move the pins in such a way that they align perfectly, it’s called a shear line. Only when the pins form the shear line is the lock able to turn.
The shear line is what key bumping is trying to accomplish. But, how can a lock picker do simulate the grooves of the real key if they don’t have access to it? This is where the bump key appears.
The Turn and Bump
This is a specially designed “key” with grooves that push the pins as close to the shear line as possible just a notch short of full insertion. The picker then applies turning force and bumps the key inward; the force of the bump puts the pins in the shear line for a split second. That split second is more than enough for the turning force to engage the tumblers and open the door.
There are ways of defending against key bumping, and they’re all pretty affordable. All a person needs to do is talk to a locksmith about the concern, and they’ll be able to suggest at least ten ways homeowners can protect themselves from key bumping burglars.