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datagram, Summer 2009
Hello, I'm datagram, I run www.lockpickingforensics.com and www.lockwiki.com. I chose to write about Mul-T-Lock because they are interesting and (mostly) unique on a technical level. Additionally, there are few references on how they work outside of marketing material, especially for the newer models. (Plus, Han Fey already did Abloy!) This article analyzes Mul-T-Lock telescoping pin-tumbler systems throughout the company's nearly forty year history. We'll also look at security; attacks on the various Mul-T-Lock models and how the company has dealt with these problems. Finally, there are several appendices that provide keying, coding, and patent references for Mul-T-Lock systems. I can be reached at email@example.com. See http://www.lockpickingforensics.com/ for more contact information. Corrections, additions, comments, and criticism are all welcome. Note: While I know more than most about Mul-T-Lock systems there are many areas where I could use your expertise. I've done my best to note these places; please contact me if you can help! All contributors will be properly credited unless anonymity is preferred.
2. History of Mul-T-Lock
Mul-T-Lock is an Israeli lock manufacturer founded in 1973 by Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev. The motivation behind Mul-T-Lock began in 1972 when a customer asked a locksmith to install “four extra locks for her front door.” After installing the locks the locksmith consulted with a friend and the two (Bachri and Dolev) designed a multi-point locking system. They went on to form a company around their system, aptly named “Mul-T” Lock. The company gained international popularity over the next thirty years, designing and patenting a multitude of locking systems. Mul-T-Lock is currently one of the most recognized names in security, being used in a wide variety of high security installations, including many prisons. Mul-T-Lock was purchased by the ASSA-ABLOY group in 2000. Though they hold patents for various locking mechanisms, Mul-T-Lock are best known for their dimple pin-tumbler locks that feature telescoping pin pairs, also known as pin-in-pin. In a normal pin-tumbler, pin pairs have a top and bottom pin which separate at the shear line to open the lock. In a telescoping system there are two sets of pin pairs, one outer pair and one inner pair. The outer pin encases all but the tips of the bottom inner pin pair. Both inner and outer tumblers must be properly aligned at the shear line to open the lock.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 1/56
It appears the original idea for telescoping pins dates as far back as 1897. Thorsten Rydberg's 1897 patent titled “Lock” describes a lock in which “each tumbler consists of such a severed pin or bar (solid or hollow) surrounded by one, two, or more concentric tubes, severed and springactuated in the same manner as the pin, or it may be of only two or more concentric tubes made to slide in each other.” Unfortunately the patent images are not very clear, but the text clearly describes telescoping pins. In 1914 an interesting telescoping pin-tumbler patent was granted to Christian Hansen of Davenport, Iowa. In Hansen's design, a double bitted pin-tumbler key is used to position telescoping pin pairs (Figure 2.1) on the top and bottom of the keyway. In his design there are inner pins, intermediate sleeves, and outer sleeves. One of Hansen's claims is the ability that the key can be withdrawn in either horizontal orientation, an interesting effect of the position of tumblers and an inverted key bitting. The negative effect of this claim is that number of key differs is drastically reduced for the sake of usability. Hansen provides a complex description of the telescoping pins: “The radial inner pin 24 and the sleeves 26 and 28 of each tumbler, upon insertion of the key 14, are moved outwardly the proper distance so that their outer ends come into registration with the periphery of the key cylinder 9, whereby the latter may be turned.”
Figure 2.1: 1914, Patent images showing a dual-bitted pin-tumbler key with telescoping pins on the top and bottom of the key blade.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com)
In 1935 Clarence L. Williams and Earl M. Simmons were issued a patent that describes a lock with components described as a “double interfitted pin type.” The patent image (Figure 2.2) shows telescoping pins being used on a traditional pin-tumbler key on both the top and sides of the bitting area. The design of the telescoping pins in this patent most closely resemble early generations of Mul-T-Lock telescoping pins.
Figure 2.2: 1935, Patent images showing outer (13/15) and inner (14/16) telescoping pin-tumblers on the top and side of the keyway. In 1977 Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev, founders of Mul-T-Lock, were granted a patent for a telescoping pin-tumbler lock. Unlike the 1935 version, this would have only one row of telescoping pins and would use a horizontal keyway and dimple key. Another important addition was the inverted mushroom security pins and the use of a rounded mating surface between the pins, plug, and cylinder. This would improve tolerances to enhance keying capabilities and pick resistance. Noach Eizen and Rishon Lezion of Mul-T-Lock were granted a patent in 1987 for a similar telescoping pin lock. The 1977 and 1987 patents are the basis for the Mul-T-Lock Classic model. The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock, the basic principles of which still exist in modern Mul-T-Lock designs. The next few sections will discuss the various Mul-T-Lock models, how they work, and varieties in their design.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com)
3. Mul-T-Lock Classic
The original Mul-T-Lock telescoping design, patented in 1977, is dubbed the Classic version. The Classic is a dimple lock featuring four or five telescoping pin stacks. The addition of telescoping pins does not change how a dimple pin-tumbler lock works, fundamentally. Pins must still be raised to the correct position; only now that includes both inner and outer pins. When all pins are correctly positioned at the shear line the plug can rotate. One important distinction is that inner and outer pins can be raised to different heights, and a specially cut key is required to do so. Figure 3.1: The Mul-T-Lock Classic, 006 Keyway
The Mul-T-Lock Classic is the first in a series of telescoping locks developed by Mul-T-Lock. From the outside it looks like a standard dimple lock (Figure 3.2). When disassembled we see a unique look to both the pin-tumblers and the plug. When the correct key is used inner and outer tumblers are aligned at the shear line (Figure 3.3). When an incorrect key is used inner and outer pairs are misaligned, causing the shear line to be blocked by one or both sets of pins. This design is the basis for all Mul-T-Lock telescoping systems.
Figure 3.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic rim cylinder assembled and disassembled.
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Figure 3.3: The Mul-T-Lock Classic when the correct (top) and incorrect (bottom) keys are used.
Figure 3.4 (Left): Standard Classic inner and outer bottom pins Figure 3.5 (Right): An inverted mushroom (outer) bottom pin The bottom pins consist of an inner and outer pin pair (Figure 3.4). The inner pin is spooled to prevent it from falling through the outer pin, but it also acts as a mild anti-picking mechanism. Outer bottom pins are generally standard, though there are variations that resemble an inverted mushroom that provide picking resistance (Figure 3.5).
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right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance. and mushroom top pins. serrated. and inner spring (Figure 3. This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down. The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack.7.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin.6). most companies stick with one. Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems. Security Analysis.Figure 3.7: Spooled. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. including: spooled. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs. but only partially. inner pin. mushroom.” discussed further in Section 8. Figure 3.7). and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. and serrated (Figure 3.com) 6/56 .
this only defends against casual duplication. whether they be for a 4 or 5 pin lock. a specially cut key allows telescoping pins to be raised to different heights. Of course. Notice the concentric cuts used to position each telescoping pin. This provides increased key security because handmade keys are difficult to make.8). These are somewhat rare. This is interesting because it means that all Classic keys. one each for inner and outer pins (Figure 3. Keying Specifications Unlike traditional pin-tumblers. keyway 006C. meaning further insertion is prevented by the tip of the key contacting the cam (back) of the lock. Cuts are a combination of two concentric rings. All Classic keys are tip stopped.8: Bitting of a Mul-T-Lock Classic key.Figure 3.com) 7/56 . especially due to the horizontal orientation of the dimple key. Classic keys are also “convenience” keys because either side can be used for proper operation. and I have only run across a couple in the dozens of Classic keys I own or have had access to. can be bitted for 5 pins. Though the majority of Classic keys are sized alike. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. When used in a 4 pin lock. the first four cuts manipulate tumblers and the fifth is unused. there are some that use a shorter key (cuts are still properly spaced). a skilled machinist could easily reproduce a Classic key.
10). with 5 being the largest (Figure 3.857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175).13). The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon.11). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins. designated 1-5. (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins. The 06 keyway is the most common. and so on. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key. All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber.9: Classic bottom pins (all). and a total of 1. Warding on the blade is the most common. Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. with D being the largest. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade. master keying. with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3. Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). the inner pin must be 3 or higher.12). but is still fairly accurate. Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade.14). There are five depths available for inner pins. but instead use side warding. There are four depths available for outer pins.com) 8/56 . There are other variations which use multiple wards. designated A-D. as well as off-center warding (Figure 3. With a C outer pin. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all.9).419. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.Figure 3.
by far the most common Classic key profile. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 3. Figure 3.com) 9/56 . Figure 3.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade. Figure 3.10 (Left): The 006C.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding.Figure 3.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.
Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down.16). keys may be bitted on either side of the key. Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding.15: Classic key bow styles.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. two of which are unique (Figure 3. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it. which we'll discuss in Section 8. The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow.15). Security Analysis. The last (right) is shared with the Interactive.com) 10/56 . There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.1). Figure 3. The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007. but key bows are available in ten different colors. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total. Figure 3.
Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. Figure 3. Figure 3.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components. One is normal. near the second and third pin chamber.17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder. Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). The UL version provides better resistance to attack. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3.com) 11/56 . above and below the keyway. Security Analysis. above the keyway and steel rods. Figure 3. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder. are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3.19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The other components used.19). in both the UL and non-UL cylinders. above the plug (Figure 3. overall.18).17). More on what UL certification means in Section 8.
Now that the patent has expired most dealers have began promoting the Interactive instead. In the next section we'll look at the second generation of Mul-T-Lock telescoping locks.com) 12/56 . but it is still a great medium security cylinder (by modern standards) for residential use. the quality of most of these knock-offs is poor. While they provide a similar telescoping pin system. and in my opinion is probably “good enough” for most small businesses. Conclusion The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock.Classic Clones Since the patent expired on Classic cylinders and keys. including those of the present day. the Classic has since been superseded by newer models. but you can still get the Classic from many online vendors and local locksmiths. Of course. various companies now produce knockoff versions of Classic cylinders and key blanks. the MulT-Lock Interactive. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Many of the principles of the Classic are used in other models. Most do not have manufacturing tolerances as high as a legitimate Mul-T-Lock and usually do not include security pins or the antiforced entry inserts.
At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers. 206 Keyway Figure 4.com) 13/56 . Figure 4.4.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. key bumping.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive. Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. and serrated top pins are again the most popular. All keys are tip stopped by the cam. the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication. impressioning. The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways. and visual decoding. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs. and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive takes the design of the Classic one step further by using a moving element in the key to interface with one of the pin stacks. various warding styles are used. anti-forced entry components are the same. When compared with the Classic.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. a normal pin stack is used but on the bottom of the plug is a spring-biased component that resembles a pin tip (Figure 4.4: The Interactive moving element can be in the first or second pin position. Figure 4. The pin tip raises the moving element on the key.3). In four pin models.3: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element. with the moving element on the key in the same position (Figure 4.bitting may be in either orientation.com) 14/56 . to the correct position (Figure 4. In my opinion.4). Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8. overall. and thus the pins. Figure 4. Security Analysis. The moving element in the lock may be in the first or second pin chamber. The main difference is the chamber with the moving element. In that chamber.2). having the moving element in the second chamber is better.
6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.5: Left to right – Gold.6). Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins.com) 15/56 .7). Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4.There are three types of moving element. Silver. right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock. and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock. which defines how inner and outer pins are raised: Color Gold Silver Black Code Type/Description G S B Convex. The number of side pins available is the same as the number of telescoping pin stacks. and five in a five tumbler lock. raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4. and Black moving elements. each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4. Moving elements are classified by color. four in a four tumbler lock. Figure 4. Bitting for side pins is on the side of the blade and corresponding cuts are located in the plug and cylinder (Figure 4.5). raises inner pin higher Flat. Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used. raises both pins equally Concave.
but they are just a moving piece of metal.com) 16/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The main advantage of the moving element is the ability to lift pin stacks higher than the top of the keyway. Keying Specifications The moving element makes the Interactive key visually distinct. Figure 4. This ability adds two additional pins to the Interactive. though a cast of the bitting may be used to decode the key. including the position and style of the moving element. They are Z and 0 (zero). respectively. Each is a cut smaller than the Classic's smallest pins (Figure 4. Many people mistake these for magnets or some form of electronic component. smallest pins The moving element also prevents the ability to directly cast and impression a key. Classic.8: Interactive vs.7 (Right): Side pins inserted into an Interactive plug. machining blanks for the Interactive is much harder because placement and style of the moving element must be considered. something a normal key cannot do.7 (Left): Side pin bitting on the side of an Interactive key. Figure 4.Figure 4. for outer and inner pins. At the same time. Similar bores are located in the cylinder to restrict plug rotation when an improper key is used.8). With this information we can produce a working key on a proper Interactive blank.
This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. with the G (Gold) moving element. many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. in my opinion.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. In spite of this.126 (174 * 6). though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. More on this in Section 8.10). down about 2/3 from the Classic. Like the Classic. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4.The Interactive has downsides. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic. make the Interactive stronger. It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. This is important because it implies the keyway profile of an Interactive lock cannot be casually observed without special tools to look deep into the keyway (which may be problematic because of the pins) or an analysis of the key. regardless of the other cuts. Security Analysis. though. Regardless of the decrease.9). Figure 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. While there is limited side warding. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange.com) 17/56 . The difficulty in obtaining. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. Even if we did. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. Figure 4. but side warding is limited due to side pins. manufacturing.
The solid master (4. The external master (4. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins. right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually.12.13). two of which are unique (Figure 4.11).12). and external master pins as 1 to 3.12. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion. Master Keying The Classic and Interactive models provide for complex master keying systems through the use of three types of traditional master pins (Figure 4. Figure 4. The first two are unique to the Interactive.12. Figure 4.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014. The external and internal masters can be used individually. center) and the internal master (4. with 3 being the largest.com) 18/56 . The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4. with 4 being the largest. I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4. There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins.The Interactive uses three styles of key bow. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins.12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic.
all we need to do is run the numbers to make sure we're within our limits. Again. These shapes are similar to the floating pin styles. Each of the solid pins can be combined with solid master pins (4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and if that number is higher than 5 it can't be used. left) for additional master keying requirements. XX is an even key cut. The same goes for outer pins. three types of solid bottom pins can be used. I'll leave figuring out the math up to you :) In addition to the three traditional master pins.12. For example. X.13: A Mul-T-Lock Classic/Interactive key gauge with 0/Z and master pins included. This isn't too hard if we consider all pins to be numbered. but with a maximum of 4 (D).14). Using the inner or outer master pins individually is trickier. and X+ is a concave key cut. Of course. when using master pins we must consider the pinning rules when master keying locks. with any inner pin we add its value to the master pin. These each have their own pin codes based on what shape they are (Figure 4. because we need to consider the MACS between inner and outer pin stacks.is a convex key cut.com) 19/56 .Figure 4.
but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins. the inability to directly cast a key is important. offering a variety of additional and improved security features. especially bumping.com) 20/56 . one that makes many techniques. the CLIQ and 3-in-1.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks. The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Why use solid bottom pins? They were implemented (as far as I know) as a standard part of master keying to defend against the Michaud attack. more can be added with solid master pins. Of those. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5. In the next two sections we'll discuss variations on the Interactive design. The Michaud attack is discussed in-depth in Section 8. Conclusion The Mul-T-Lock Interactive is in many ways an improvement over the Classic. more difficult.Figure 4. Of course. Security Analysis. Again. using the solid master pins drastically reduces the number of available key differs for a given lock.
com) 21/56 .1). we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Figure 5.com). Figure 5. the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. The main difference between Interactive and CLIQ locks are the CLIQ components on the bow of the key and inside the plug and cylinder of the lock itself.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ.ericschmiedl.2). Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Mul-T-Lock CLIQ Note: All the photos in this section (except the SynerKey) are taken by and used with the permission of Eric Schmiedl (http://www. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks. Introduced in 2004. The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ. Euro profile.5. The mechanical portions of the key and lock are mostly the same as the Interactive so we'll skip discussion of them. When disassembled.2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors.
Inside the lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.4). but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log. At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.Figure 5. Figure 5. Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5.5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys.3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed. a sidebar-like system is used by the CLIQ to restrict rotation of the plug until authentication has taken place (Figure 5.4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown. a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5.com) 22/56 . Figure 5.3).5). Note the lack of bitting cuts.
the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution. Electronic Communication When a small contact on the side of the key (visible in Figure 5. Management of CLIQ authentication tokens is provided by Mul-T-Lock through a variety of software packages and the reprogramming keys.Figure 5. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned. If the numbers match. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system.6) contacts the inside of the lock.) The sidebar is rather untraditional. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock. (Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown. Security Analysis.000 attempts). Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8. I don't have more detail on this process.” Once awake. The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own. Of course. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5. If not. it will blink red. If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but instead are powered by inserting the key. The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug. Please contact me if you can help! Communication between the CLIQ key and lock takes place with 3DES encryption and claims to offer 264 possible authentication token combinations.com) 23/56 . master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. In either case. Unfortunately. and in shape it's more like a large side pin. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal. The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered. the plug generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. At the same time.6).
Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws. While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5. with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD.8). it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. More on this in Section 8.8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models. I would guess this isn't the case. At the time of writing this the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is considerably more expensive than almost all other Mul-T-Lock models. While it provides a high level of security. Please contact me if you can answer this. Security Analysis.com) 24/56 . These are not CLIQ locks. The SynerCLIQ can be identified because the key bow has a distinct logo when compared to normal CLIQ keys (Figure 5. Figure 5. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ. but they do have their own special key bow. or at least those without an electronic component.SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey.7). it is currently unclear whether or not the 2014 patent expiration date for the Interactive will affect the ability to obtain CLIQ blanks.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5. but I'm not sure. The SynerKey may be an effective alternative for small to medium sized installations.
When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6. which uses the same Interactive components. with modified inner pins and construction keying bores.2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. the 3-in-1's re-keying function changes the internals slightly. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. All other pins in the lock are standard.1). Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle. At this point. Figure 6. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks. Figure 6. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1. When removed from the pin stacks. Unlike the CLIQ. Second. When the plug is rotated. but their internals are the same.6. When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. It allows the user to progressively re-key the lock up to three times given a set of pre-supplied keys. except it uses a break-away component on inner pin stacks instead of a free-floating ball bearing. construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber. In a traditional construction keying system. First. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. some of the inner top pins have a modified design. the inner pins used for construction keying each have a small ball at the top (Figure 6.2). This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work. acting like a master pin.com) 25/56 .
This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6. Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system.com) 26/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. From lowest to highest.Figure 6.3). The green keys raise all construction pins high enough that the top of the construction ball aligns with the shear line (as in Figure 6. Figure 6.5).4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line. they are green.3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels. Figure 6. yellow. The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off. When the lock is brand new. When it is time for the keys to change. removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6. and red (Figure 6.1). only the green keys work.4). At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock. creating a new shear line. the yellow key is inserted. Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug.5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore.
7). The same logic applies. the MT5 and MT5+.6). Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red. Again. 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. 3-in-1 keys are easily identified because factory original keys follow a green-yellow-red bow progression and only use the square plastic key bow design. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems. At this point. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. the red key is inserted. we snap off the remaining balls with rotation of the key and they are deposited into the plug bores (Figure 6. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. In the Classic 3-in-1. Figure 6. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. while Classic keys may also use the same bow and colors a quick examination of the key can determine if it has the Interactive component.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6. The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system. In either case. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs.com) 27/56 . but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way. only the red key will operate the lock. Figure 6. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. Being normal Interactive keys.
when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+. It is a high-security cylinder that offers additional key control and resistance to compromise when compared to previous Mul-T-Lock models. This section will focus on the MT5+. Figure 7.1: The MT5+. showing five telescoping pin pairs. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Alpha chamber (far left). anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs. In my experience. dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. 05 keyway Figure 7. and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing. but the MT5 model is essentially the same thing without the sidebar. Introduced in 2007. Mul-T-Lock MT5/MT5+ The newest Mul-T-Lock design is the MT5.7.com) 28/56 .2: The MT5/MT5+ plug. the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system.
The pin it raises is rather unique.5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair. the MT5 pins look a bit different (Figure 7. Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice. which share most pins. Instead. the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key. Figure 7.4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six). It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7.3). away from the bitting area. it is not a telescoping but instead a traditional top pin with a very unusual bottom pin. the plug walls pinch the Alpha spring into the key.com) 29/56 . causing variations in the Alpha chamber.2). When the key is fully inserted. currently. we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key. a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key. Unlike the Classic and Interactive.7).The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7. the new moving element. The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. Like the Interactive. It doesn't seem like this is the case. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.4). the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7.3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins. The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. Looking at the key. slightly different design than older models. First. While the key is inserted.6). discussed a little later. Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. The chamber used to hold the Alpha pin stack is also unique as it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin (Figure 7. but all samples I have access to are the same. This is strange given the Interactives variety. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. Figure 7.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.7: The Alpha chamber is not drilled like a traditional pin chamber. Figure 7.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin. Instead.Figure 7.6 (Right): The Alpha spring component (cutaway key) is raised by the plug walls. Figure 7.com) 30/56 .
8). Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Actuated by five free-floating sliders. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key.9). as any available key blank can be used to create a working key. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. Figure 7.Figure 7.10: MT5+ slider. and the bottom (right) interfaces with the sidebar.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug.10). The sidebar is made of nickel-silver and is positioned at the bottom of the plug (Figure 7.com) 31/56 . If all sidebars have the same code. the use of a sidebar (Figure 7. Figure 7. MT5+ Sidebar MT5+ models have one major improvement over the MT5.8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar. The MT5+ does not have this problem. Note the anti-picking false notches. there is basically no point in having it.
12: MT5+ sliders properly aligned. the sidebar can now be retracted and plug rotated.out of the five sliders two define a locksmith region and the other three are variable. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.12). I am unsure how large a “locksmith region” is. located underneath and in-between telescoping pin-tumbler stacks (Figure 7. When viewed in the plug. Please contact me if you can help answer this. This is an adequate method of distributing keys with unique sidebars but also allows locksmiths to make working keys for customers.11: Inside view of the plug. Figure 7. Figure 7.11). sliders are positioned horizontally.com) 32/56 . When all sliders are properly aligned the sidebar can fall into their true notches and plug rotation is no longer restricted (Figure 7. showing arrangement of telescoping pins and sliders.
Though both use the traditional telescoping pin cuts.13: The MT5+ key with telescoping bitting.13). Warding on the keys for both MT5 and MT5+ are also somewhat unique when compared to other Mul-T-Lock models. Keying Specifications The normal MT5 key works much like a traditional Mul-T-Lock key. The most interesting aspect of the MT5+ is that it uses both the top and bottom of the blade. the MT5+ uses a laser track cut for the sidebar pins. Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. Like previous models.Figure 7. Like the restrictions for the Interactive's moving element. If you have this information please contact me.com) 33/56 . such as those in the Scorpion CX-5 and the EVVA 3KS. The top is used for the telescoping pins and bottom is used for the sidebar pins. This is similar to other laser track sidebars. Alpha spring. I currently do not have any depth or coding information for the MT5/MT5+ pins or sliders. MT5/MT5+ keys cannot have warding Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the MT5/MT5+ can be bitted in various orientations. and laser track sidebar. The MT5+ key is quite different due to the use of the sidebar (Figure 7. almost the same as the Interactive. Five telescoping pins are raised and the Alpha spring raises the pins in the Alpha chamber.
com) 34/56 . As you can see. Figure 7. In the MT5+. a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above). The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7. In the case of the MT5+. but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track.14). warding can be on the laser track.15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. Figure 7.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up.15). The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models. keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. In addition.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but I don't consider it too different from the Interactive. The seemingly static position and size of the Alpha spring pins is a little strange. and warding styles. That's it for the discussion of Mul-T-Lock models. In the next section we'll discuss various attacks against each generation of Mul-T-Lock model. but with the lock being so new Mul-T-Lock has plenty of time to upgrade the design. The MT5+ is currently not available to USA dealers. as well as design upgrades and varieties provided by Mul-T-Lock to resist each attack. telescoping pins. The regular MT5 has a high number of key differs. I'd recommend going straight to the MT5+. The Alpha spring is interesting. the MT5+ is the best Mul-T-Lock cylinder to date. but it operates on the same principles as the Interactive moving element. but is available to large installations (I'm assuming you would have to contact Mul-T-Lock or work through one of their dealers). In the case of the MT5+.Conclusion From a purely mechanical standpoint. but lack of sidebar makes this a bit dubious. If you're planning on upgrading. but is available from a select few online vendors. Of course. The MT5 is an interesting change. The MT5/MT5+ is somewhat hard to find. you can always contact your local Mul-T-Lock dealer to see if they have any special connections and whatnot. Key control is quite high considering the Alpha spring. a wide variety of key differs is available between sidebar. The MT5 is not available in the USA outside of second-hand channels. It offers a wide variety of protections against both destructive and non-destructive entry techniques.com) 35/56 . USA dealers are supposed to have access to the MT5+ by 2011.
lockwiki. vulnerabilities that may exist or previously existed. The Hercular deadbolt series also have ANSI Grade 1 locking mechanisms. I don't know every trick in the book. European Committee for Standardization (CEN). for example. Vertrauen durch Sicherheit (VDS). All security ratings are given in time rather than absolutes. in general. is currently $490 USD). and how Mul-T-Lock models have evolved to deal with these problems. locks have grades which define which attacks they resist and for how long.” but there is really nothing that makes this so. many non-destructive compromise techniques are much harder to do. From a security standpoint.php/Security_Ratings. and SecuPlus (SKG).8. Mul-T-Lock models have received ratings from Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). it is just a “high-er” security standard. a telescoping system is similar to traditional pin-tumblers. Security Ratings All Mul-T-Lock telescoping lock models have earned one or more security ratings. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Having a security rating does not imply that the lock is “high-security”. Due to the cross-over of most of the Mul-T-Lock models I'm going to categorize by attack rather than lock model. In the same way that beef can be rated Grade “A” by the USDA. so this section is one that I could use much help on. Their UL 437 certification is probably the most notable. please see http://www. For a free listing and descriptions of these ratings. This section will evaluate the strength of Mul-T-Lock systems against a variety of common attacks. In each section we'll go over how different models stack up against an attack. Many people associate UL 437 with “high-security. as well as many others used around the world. a popular lock security rating from Underwriter's Laboratories. Unfortunately.com/index. For example. A security rating is a way for consumers to know what level of security to expect from a lock. If you have any correction or additions please contact me! Contact information is available at the start of this paper. they are responsible for many improvements to telescoping systems and dimple locks. As Marc Tobias likes to say. a lock may be rated to resist lockpicking for at least 10 minutes.com) 36/56 . and forced entry for 15 minutes. just that it passed whatever tests the specific rating requires. This has been a source of confusion lately. the exact wording of many standards are not publicly available and are quite expensive to obtain (UL 437. Though Mul-TLock is not the first or only company to provide telescoping pin-tumblers. especially when we consider UL 437. Security Analysis Functionally. Unfortunately. American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
sometimes generalized as “manipulation. It works by being screwed into the keyway. Resistance to lockpicking tools and techniques has been increasingly important since the early 1800s. The outer pins being at the shear line is mostly independent of the position of inner pins. but encourage them to put up a new video which includes assembly of the lock (to verify all components are present). and to not splice the clips together. offers a drill bit that claims to go through an entire Mul-TLock cylinder in about a minute. All five pin Mul-T-Lock systems have a total of 10 pin pairs when we consider inner and outer pins.com) 37/56 . Forced entry is by far the most common method of entry. Like this. detailed in earlier sections. a lock's security is highly based on whether or not it can resist lockpicking.Forced Entry Resistance to forced or destructive entry is the primary concern of all locking systems. more importantly. In modern day. a Czech company. Wendt. Figure 8. then extreme pulling force is applied to pull the lock out of it's mounting. a locksmith tool company. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Mul-T-Lock systems use a variety of mechanisms to prevent forced entry. lockpicking is probably the most well known and respected skill an attacker can have. lockpicking is still the most tried and true way of opening almost any lock in the world given the correct tools and. Multipick Service. but they make the fatal error of splicing cuts rather than keeping the film running. While a ten pin lock sounds challenging.” While key bumping has made headlines recently. only that the clock at the top says so. What this means is that we can pick the lock first by attacking the outer pins then the inner pins. but some tools and techniques can be used to quickly compromise the older Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. They have a video of this on their website. make a pulling screw that is effective against a variety of MulT-Lock cylinders. in truth the Mul-T-Lock is two five pin locks in one. and if successful it is often the fastest and cheapest way to defeat a locking system. Lockpicking – Classic & Interactive In terms of covert entry techniques. skill.1: A Mul-T-Lock Classic fully picked Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. we can't confirm that it actually took one minute. Think of it this way: inner pins cannot separate at the shear line before outer pins.
Many times you'll end up having to release tension and start over. and. because of the angle at which the inner upper pins are trapped.com) 38/56 . Multipick Service also sell various Mul-TLock picks. Again. and those sold by the companies listed above. “Notes on Mul-T-Lock Locks” (www. the inner pins can apparently be set in any order (or simultaneously). the lock becomes a five pin dimple lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.” . Picking of the inner pins is actually quite easy.crypto.2). this should be a much simpler task than ordinary lock picking.Matt Blaze. more so than the false set of a security pin (Figure 8. Matt Blaze's site reiterates this quite nicely: “However. for the most part. From here. but is not designed or marketed specifically for this purpose. #0702-KPR). In particular.com) Wendt produce two sets of Mul-T-Lock picks (#0702. they all bind at once and over-setting is prevented by the severe angle at which the upper pins are held.Figure 8. Both sets resemble traditional dimple lockpicking tools with pointed tips. Traditional dimple or pin-tumbler picks can also be used but they take more skill to use. The main problem with traditional picks. How do we know when to pick the inner pins? When the outer pins are picked the cylinder rotates slightly. When this happens it takes a considerable amount of fiddling to get the pick out. the attacker can move to the inner pins. The Souber dimple pick set is also effective against Mul-T-Lock systems.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic in the normal (left) and partially picked (right) positions. is that they can get stuck between the inner and outer pins. sets are usually traditional dimple picks with slight modifications.
the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated. Figure 8. Figure 8. and how high up you are raising it. Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders. The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them. Tension is applied through a bar that can be placed on either side of the tool. Because it only lifts when directly under pin stacks there is no guesswork with where the pick is. The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools. the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins.5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools).Figure 8. The tool itself has a distinct look and does not resemble the traditional dimple picks sold by most other companies (Figure 8. Many companies sell the H&M tool.4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip. which is one of the reasons that it is so effective in picking Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8.5).3).3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up). Being tip-stopped.4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool. Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In addition.com) 39/56 .
there are currently no ready-made picking tools for the MT5/MT5+ cylinders. used to frustrate lockpicking.com) 40/56 . Being located on the bottom of the plug. On their own they offer a minimal defense. but a moderate to highly skilled attacker should have no problem with these. the time required to pick the sidebar may be excessive. The H&M tool does not work because of the change in warding and the position of the Alpha spring.In order to combat lockpicking attacks Mul-T-Lock has devised a variety of improvements to their locks. Because the sliders are placed in between pin stacks. so it should not be much harder to pick. In essence.6). While this doesn't make the sidebar a breeze to pick it is still important. In the case of the MT5+. Whether or not it can be picked fast enough to defy security ratings is another matter. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In addition to these. the normal MT5 is an upgraded Interactive cylinder. but it is only a matter of time before something is developed. Some pins with counter milling also have a serration on the bottom of the outer pin. In short: when picking the MT5+.6 (Left): An outer bottom pin with counter-milling. and depends on the sensitivity of the installation. widespread use of serrated outer top pins has become effective in deterring casual picking. Figure 8. the position of the sidebar has an interesting effect on picking. gravity does not affect the position of MT5+ sliders. inner top pins can also be lightly spooled. but I'm not completely sure why (Figure 8. but are often combined with outer bottom pins that use counter milling (Figure 8. Unlike other laser track locks (see: EVVA 3KS. At this time I have not heard of anyone picking the MT5+.7 (Right): Some counter-milled pins have a serration at the bottom of the pin. but I haven't been able to confirm this. Scorpion CX-5). but there is no doubt in my mind that a highly skilled attacker could do it. Lockpicking – MT5/MT5+ As far as I know. horizontal to the ground. Of course. When tension is placed on the cylinder the inner and outer pin serrations hook together to prevent picking. My guess would be as a crude overlifting defense. Contact me if you can offer any insight! Figure 8.7). tension can be completely released and sliders will not move. they are difficult to manipulate without hitting the pins.
com) 41/56 . Mul-T-Lock has since fixed this problem.Michaud Attack Early versions of the Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive were found to be vulnerable to an attack discovered by Eric Michaud (TOOOL USA) in 2004. the cylinder could be rotated to trap all outer top pins above the shear line. common in almost all new Mul-T-Lock cylinders. Inside the lock.” he found that inner pin-pairs could be raised to lift the outer top pins. Interestingly enough.8: An anti-Michaud Attack top pin. Their idea was to make a hole in the top outer pin that allows the inner pin to push through when it is all the way at the top (Figure 8. Use of solid bottom pins in master keyed systems (see Section 4. allowing all outer pins to be easily picked via overlifting. Briefly. From there. as discussed earlier. Mul-T-Lock's fixed their design by using the recommendation of Eric Michaud and Matt Blaze. Once high enough. Figure 8. this prevents the outer top pin from being raised to the top of the chamber through the use of the inner pins. picking the inner pins is fairly easy. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Master keying) also prevents the Michaud attack at the expense of pick-resistance and key differs.8). Dubbed the “Michaud Attack. but there are still decades of locks produced and installed that are vulnerable. inner pins could be raised and they would carry the outer pins.
The universal Mul-T-Lock bump key seems to be elusive. especially now that the patent has expired. In my experience. Finally. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10. We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element. Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate. however. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does. personally. After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. The MT5+. which is surprisingly hard to find. force. but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. If we agree that the Classic and Interactive can be bumped then I see no reason that the MT5 (without sidebar) couldn't also be bumped. Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders. I can't point out real versus fake. It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar.com) 42/56 . if unavailable directly. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. In short. This may be challenging. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. but it is possible.” While I understand Mul-T-Lock's apprehension about admitting they have a (potential) problem. but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. timing. and a properly cut bump key all play a role. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. With the Alpha spring in a static position and shape. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. I don't agree that every video is a hoax.Key Bumping Key bumping is a covert entry technique in which force is applied to a specially modified key to cause pin-tumblers to split at the shear line. is almost certainly not bump-able. As we discussed. we consider the MT5/MT5+. This leaves the Black (B). as they are assembled in our factories and distributed throughout our network of authorized professional dealers are not susceptible to this type of attack. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+. this is still disputed. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. they've been modified in some way to make bumping possible: “Not a single one of these supposedly successful bumping attempts was performed with a nontreated Interactive Mul-T-Lock cylinder. This isn't too hard for the Classic. In any event.
but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist bumping. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping. not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. holds a variety of patents for bump-resistant pin-tumbler designs. Regardless.9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin.Moshe Dolev. Interactive.9). for key bumping resistance. At the moment I feel that the Classic. Of these. but this is not terribly accurate. and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped. but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys. but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get.com) 43/56 . While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. preventing it from separating at the shear line. one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense. Each fit into one another. and claims to prevent bumping attacks. Mul-T-Lock chose to implement a pin type they refer to as the “Split-D” pin (Figure 8. the light tension used on the bump key is probably not going to engage mushroom tumblers to the point where they can effectively prevent bumping. most bumping attacks put tension on the cylinder only after it has been struck with a bump hammer. Figure 8.
There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation. wax. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay. It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. This is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand. It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. to say the least. If you look at a Classic key.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. In both cases it is time consuming. This technique could still be used (against all models. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins. With these. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. this is most effective against the Classic. As we discussed in previous sections. and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. made out of brass.Impressioning Impressioning is a covert entry technique used to open and make a working key for a lock. Due to the telescoping pins we would need to make outer cuts without touching the inner area. With a telescoping system (and a dimple key) this is problematic. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques.com) 44/56 . we know where to file to produce a working key. Rather than fabricating full Classic blanks I decided to make a small piece of brass that simulates only the actual bitting area (Figure 8.5 mm high. In a normal pin-tumbler.10). Figure 8. With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins. or silicon. Manipulation-based impressioning uses a blank key to gather information from the lock itself.
large inner pins leave as little as 0.47 mm of material on the tool. of course. viewed under UV light. Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8. You could continue impressioning. The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates.The tool is inserted between the bitting wards and a separate tension tool is used. Early attempts to make impressions were successful. Figure 8. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. I moved to a UV-based system. Figure 8.11).11: Impressioning marks on the tool. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking. With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. This was troublesome because I wasn't sure where to file. Aside from the ability to clearly see marks with UV ink. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming. With UV it is easy to find marks as well as identify what made each mark (Figure 8. With extremely low pins it is helpful to file at an angle to prevent the tool from breaking easily (a common dimple impressioning trick). In addition to inner and outer pins. Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins. Additionally.com) 45/56 .12: Tool after the first round of filing. but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually. the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts.12).
It would be neat if the tool came like this. Electronic Attacks (CLIQ & SynerKey) CLIQ security is currently a hot topic. so it is hard to pin down exactly what decoding techniques the Mul-T-Lock may be vulnerable to.” What this means for Mul-T-Lock specifically is unclear. malleable material (such as foil. Given the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ is used in various government and high-security installations (namely airports). Falle-Safe offers an impressioning tool for Mul-T-Lock systems. Please contact me if you have more information! Contact details are available at the start of the paper. Decoding Decoding is a class of attack that aims to figure out the bitting pattern of lock either through examining or manipulating the lock or a working key. but ultimately it is not hard to do by hand. At this time I have not seen a Mul-T-Lock impressioned this way. “some may be harder to pick and decode than others. More information on these vulnerabilities will be added when it is made available.com) 46/56 .Pressure-responsive impressioning may also be possible. the Tobias boys are practicing responsible disclosure in order to make sure all the major players are prepared if/when they release vulnerability information. but the associated key cards so. or soft wood) to quickly impression the lock. but the telescoping pins are again a problem. Many modern dimple locks are vulnerable to this type of attack. Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis reported they found various mechanical and electronic vulnerabilities in the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Falle-Safe offers a picking and decoding system they claim work with Mul-T-Lock systems. Decoding is somewhat ambiguous. With the information gained from decoding a working key can be made by hand or with a key cutting machine. Mul-T-Lock does not use any bitting codes on factory original keys that could be used to decode them. With the H&M picking tool. in general. In the tool's description Mul-T-Lock is grouped in a category with other locks and it basically says. lead. A mold taken of any Mul-T-Lock key could be decoded to determine the bitting and sidebar patterns for the lock. specific vulnerability information is unavailable but I am told it is quite serious. marks could be made to decode the lock while it is being picked. I believe it is just a traditional dimple pick set and a standard lever type decoder. but it seems plausible. Classic and Interactive key cards use direct codes. At the time of writing this. including the full keyway profile (See Appendix A). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. I have not had access this system in person so I cannot comment further. I believe this is a progressive key system but I have not been able to get a better description or see one in person. With this technique we use a soft.
In my opinion the normal MT5 is not much of an improvement over the Interactive model. particularly the MT5+. the MT5+ is Mul-T-Lock's best cylinder to date.9. but all samples I have seen or examined place the Alpha spring in the sixth pin chamber and don't appear to have alternate bitting styles. I hope you learned from and enjoyed this paper! For more articles on locks. they all use the same basic locking principles. can provide security even in high security situations. in some cases) will do an adequate job of providing protection. The choice of lock will depend on the type of installation and the security required. datagram. In most low to medium security installations the Mul-T-Lock Interactive (and even Classic. At the time of writing this it is unclear whether or not the Alpha spring provides the same variety in position and style like the Interactive moving component. Be sure to keep reading further for various appendices that you might find interesting and useful. they are still effective in providing security to the majority of installations. forensic locksmithing. even the newer MT5 models.com. offering a solid defense against various destructive and non-destructive entry methods. Newer models. Summer 2009 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.lockpickingforensics. and impressioning resistance. offering high pick. bump. While older models are not without problems. While they provide increasing resistance to attack over the years. We went over the various Mul-T-Lock models and learned how each works. and locksport visit http://www. Thank you for reading. safes. The addition of the sidebar is a dramatic improvement over previous models. Aside from the CLIQ. best known for their telescoping “pin-inpin” systems. it just moves the floating component to the back of the lock and adds a sixth pin-stack.com) 47/56 . Conclusion Mul-T-Lock is a world leader in locking technology.
or red bow.com) . Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. keyway profile. moving element position. square plastic (Blue) Interactive. oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green. square plastic (Black) Classic.Appendix A: Keying Specifications Key Bows Mul-T-Lock keys follow a simple key coloring and coding convention to identify the lock model. The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. nickel silver MT5/MT5+. 3-in-1 Classic keys may instead use a black square plastic bow with colored inserts. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ. round plastic Interactive. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. yellow. and moving element type (where applicable). nickel silver Classic/Interactive.
Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY.com) 49/56 . if necessary. just below the bow of the key. Key codes can be found on the blade. Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. A-0) M Integrator Master Profile P Integrator Internal Cut Profile E Integrator External Cut Profile 7 7x7 A MT5 B MT5+ Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE] The 7x7 and Integrator are non-telescoping dimple locks made by Mul-T-Lock YY Z Notes • • Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code.Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ. Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. 1 Interactive/Integrator first position 2 Interactive/Integrator second position 5 Integrator position 5 6 Integrator position 6 7 Integrator position 7 8 MT5 9 MT5 Keyway profile Moving element type: C Classic S Silver (uniform heights.
97 mm 0.65 mm Applicable to Classic.95 mm 0. outer pin higher Pinning (Outer-Inner) A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Master Pin Specifications Pin Designation Inner 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 Outer (external & solid) Inner 2.45 mm 0.25 mm Pin Length Outer 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.00 mm 0. Interactive.Inner/Outer Bottom Pin Specifications* Pin Designation Inner 0 1 2 3 4 5 * Outer Z A B C** D** Key Blank Left (Cut Depth) n/a (Interactive) 2.50 mm 1. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex.75 mm 5.65 mm 6.25 mm 5.20 mm 5. both pins equal Concave.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available.45 mm 0.00 mm 1. inner pin higher Flat.50 mm 1. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.40 mm 1.15 mm 6.45 mm Inner 4. Interactive CLIQ.com) 50/56 .25 mm 6. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.65 mm 5.75 mm 7.75 mm 6.95 mm 1.
MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. MT5/MT5+ Alpha Spring Specifications Currently not available. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.com) 51/56 . Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.
Sometimes ZZ and Y are swapped. rectangular or square) E “Extra-high duty” (black/silver with a colored strip at the bottom) G “Medium duty” (silver. and nonshrouded.com) . and puck padlocks) Padlock “size” (meaning varies): E/C series Shackle clearance length (mm) G/T series Padlock horizontal length (mm) Shackle options: P “Popping” shackle R Removable shackle x Popping/removable shackle (up to consumer) C Various shackle sizes available (may be used with other Y options. Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE]. such as xC/PC) Shackle protection: x Not shrouded P “protected” (with shroud) LE “low guard” (low shroud) HE “high guard” (full shroud) SP “shackle protector” (removable black shroud) SB “sliding bolt” (self-shrouded sliding bolt) XX Y ZZ Therefore. Some E series padlocks may also be sliding bolt. 44 mm in horizontal length. varieties in shackle size. your choice of popping or removable shackle. and with a shrouded/protected shackle. the G44P defines a G series padlock. round body. look at the table for clarification. Y may expand to YY if the 'C' option is used (such as xC. YZZ is sometimes omitted when browsing online stores or locksmith catalogs. 52/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Notes • • • • • • ZZ is frequently shortened to Z. A C13xCx defines a C series padlock with 13 mm of shackle clearance.Appendix B: Padlock Naming Conventions Mul-T-Lock padlock model numbers follow the format of WXXYZZ. sliding bolt. it is not restricted to the T series. W Padlock series: C “Heavy duty” (silver. PC). square and lightly rounded) T “Heavy duty” (silver.
all of which are interesting. Cylinder guard shield.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.389 Cylinder lock 4.com) .123. If you have any additions or corrections please contact me! At the end of this section are telescoping pin-tumbler locks not registered to Mul-T-Lock. E series padlock (body only) 1998. Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005. Interactive cylinder 1996. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990. Classic key blank 1993. padlocks. bolts and latches. E series padlock (body only) 1998. Classic cylinder 1990.268 Cylinder lock 5. Classic key blank 1993. Classic cylinder 1987. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4.593. E series shrouded padlock 2000. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990.520. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there. Classic key blank 1994. E series high shroud 1998.393.856.142.307 Gear shift lock 5.Appendix C: Patent Listing This is a list of all the patents I could find that are assigned to Mul-T-Lock relating to telescoping locks. Some other patents are excluded. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5.331.784.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6.910 Locking apparatus 5. Gear shift lock 1991. shrouded (body only) 1998.876 Padlock 7.267.035 Locking apparatus 5. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998. or keys. too.839.309 Cylinder lock 5. Interactive cylinder 1998.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977.086.259 Pick resistant lock 10. E series low shroud 2000. E series padlock. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. Classic key blank 1992. and automotive patents. Classic key blank 1991. key machines.
984. D Padlock 99.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files. D Cylinder lock 119.349.323. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. Cylinder guard shield.034. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995. D Cylinder lock 92.954.211. D Locking system 116.606.159. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings.153.808. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50. D Anti-theft apparatus 150. D Padlock 129. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997. D Pin-tumbler lock 90.705. D Key head 109. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992. D Locking apparatus 109. D Padlock 62. Cylinder guard shield 1991. C series padlock 1981. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996. D Covering arrangement 67. Classic cylinder 1990. D Door lock 110.” Some have interesting titles.362. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. Patent # Title Description 1976. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. D Anti-tampering lock 117. D Cylinder lock 59. D Cylinder lock guard 96. Interactive cylinder 1994. Classic cylinder 1980.982. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999. D Cylinder lock guard 99.696. Interactive cylinder 1994. (Cool patent) 118.607 Key for cylinder locks 80.563. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986.509.095. D Cylinder lock 103.998. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982.263.351.com) .623.701. D Lock housing 122. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002.041. D Pick resistant lock 1996. D Padlock 102. D Tamper resistant lock 102. D Locking device 83. D Padlock assembly 104. Interactive key bows 1994. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.754. Classic cylinder 1989.
Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk.501 Tumbler lock 2. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593.856 1987.095. I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.070 Lock 2.722 Cylinder lock 4. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4. immune) 1973. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.222. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908.653. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917.022.889 Tumbler mechanism 3. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5.750 Lock Please contact me if you find any telescoping pin-tumbler patents to add to this list! Contact information available at the beginning of this paper.760.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.818.894. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997.244.996. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3.383 Cylinder lock 5. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.869.” but these are usually slider based.500 Lock 2.436 917.304 Description 1897. Odd dimple lock.158.com) 55/56 . Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990.365 1.
Matt Blaze has an excellent introduction to Mul-T-Lock Classic cylinders on his website: http://www. and last but not least. buttes. I considered these to be “fair use” under United States law. Tobias Bluzmanis.com.nl. and forensic locksmithing.com) 56/56 . DOM. These pages in particular might interest you: • • • • • http://www. locksmithing. visit his portfolio at http://www.Credits. stderr.lockwiki. visit LockWiki. If you liked reading this paper you'll enjoy many of those sites.com/photos/misc/mul-t-lock/.php/Security_Ratings http://www. Much thanks to Eric Schmiedl for letting me use his fantastic CLIQ photos for Section 5.com. Babak Javadi. Thanks for reading! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.lockwiki. Eric Schmiedl. Thanks Many people helped make this paper a reality.php/Mul_T_Lock http://www.crypto. References & Resources All patents referenced in the history section are available in Appendix C. The full text of Mul-T-Lock's key bumping press release (discussed in Section 8.com/index.lockwiki.lockwiki. Marc Weber Tobias.php/Lockpicking http://www. Deviant Ollam.php/Pin_tumbler While not in the scope of Mul-T-Lock systems. Security Analysis) is available at: http://mul-t-lockusa. and promotional material. but if you are Mul-T-Lock and you are unhappy about me using these please let me know and I will remove them.com/newsdetails. too.asp?newsid=58 If you'd like more information on the locking systems and attack techniques discussed. press releases.com/index. A few pictures were used from Mul-T-Lock's site(s).ericschmiedl.php/Bumping http://www.toool. and other systems was quite motivational and helpful in deciding how to organize this paper. Eric is a great photographer (and lock picker!). His page was helpful in understanding how to explain high security locks without making everything too complicated. be sure to visit the Links page for a list of sites related to locksport.com/index.lockwiki. scorche. Abloy. Han Fey's work with ASSA. His articles on various high security locks can be found on TOOOL NL's website: http://www. In no particular order: Jon King (JK_the_Cjer).com/index.com/index.