An interesting new lockpicking technique has been making its way around the internet. This technique uses 'bump keys' to open locks in a similar fashion to lockpicking guns but without requiring specialized hardware. You can read about bump keys in this document, and see a news report about them here.

--- Presenting ---
(drumroll please)

The Document Which Used To Be Called The MIT Lockpicking Guide

I am told that the university which has its' name associated with this document would prefer not to. Fine. I will now no longer refer to it as The MIT Guide To Lockpicking or The MIT Lockpicking Guide. Truth be told, I am a member of the Bavarian Illuminati and I wrote it myself shortly after I instigated Watergate and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I hereby absolve a certain highly respectable university in Massachusets from any and all responsibility for this document.

Which is too bad in a way. I thought it was a cool piece of urban folklore no matter where it came from, and it contributed to giving college students everywhere a reputation for healthy rebeliousness.

My original copy of this file was a text file zipped up with several GIF's. I have tried as much as possible to lay out this HTML version in such a way that it makes sense, but the GIF's that came with it were of poor quality at best. Where captions are cropped off, that is the way that they came to me. If you notice any errors, and I'm sure that they are there, please send me some e-mail so I can correct them.

If you prefer, the entire thing is available as a PDF file or the original zipped postscript that the PDF was generated from. The postscript is formatted for a4 paper, so some printers may have trouble printing it on letter. I have to appologize for the PDF -- all the fonts are rendered as 72 dpi bitmaps. They print great, but they don't look so hot on screen. They also make it impossible to search the document. If you don't understand what all that means, just get the PDF file and print it. I promise you'll be happy.

Nearly half of all the illustrations appear in chapter nine, so if that one takes a little while for your browser to fetch try to be patient.

Otherwise, enjoy the file. Oh, and good luck. :-)

- Akira

This is how the Guide looked to me (as best I can recreate it) when it was given to me. You'll note the missing 'Legal Issues' section which whether intentional or not, was not part of the guide as given to me.

- Dave Ferret


MIT Guide to Lock Picking

Ted the Tool
February 14, 1992


Copyright 1987, 1991 Theodore T. Tool. All right reserved.

Permission to reproduce this document on a non-profit basis is granted provided that this copyright and distribution notice is included in full. The information in this booklet is provided for educational purposes only.

August 1991 revision.


1 It's Easy

2 How a Key Opens a Lock

3 The Flatland Model

4 Basic Picking & The Binding Defect

5 The Pin Column Model

6 Basic Scrubbing

7 Advanced Lock Picking
7.1 Mechanical Skills
7.2 Zen and the Art of Lock Picking
7.3 Analytic Thinking

8 Exercises
8.1 Exercise 1: Bouncing the pick
8.2 Exercise 2: Picking Pressure
8.3 Exercise 3: Picking Torque
8.4 Exercise 4: Identifying Set Pins
8.5 Exercise 5: Projections

9 Recognizing and Exploiting Personality Traits
9.1 Which Way To Turn
9.2 How Far to Turn
9.3 Gravity
9.4 Pins Not Setting
9.5 Elastic Deformation
9.6 Loose Plug
9.7 Pin Diameter
9.8 Beveled Holes and Rounded pins
9.9 Mushroom Driver Pins
9.10 Which Way To Turn
9.11 Which Way To Turn
9.12 Which Way To Turn
9.13 Disk Tumblers

10 Final Remarks

A Tools
A.1 Pick Shapes
A.2 Street cleaner bristles
A.3 Bicycle spokes
A.4 Brick Strap

B Legal Issues

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