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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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and inner spring (Figure 3.com) 6/56 . Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems. including: spooled. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance. Figure 3. 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. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. serrated. and mushroom top pins. Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. mushroom. but only partially. most companies stick with one. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack. inner pin.” discussed further in Section 8.7: Spooled. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and serrated (Figure 3.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin.6). Security Analysis. Outer top pins have a variety of security designs.7.Figure 3. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs.7).
there are some that use a shorter key (cuts are still properly spaced). meaning further insertion is prevented by the tip of the key contacting the cam (back) of the lock. especially due to the horizontal orientation of the dimple key.8). Notice the concentric cuts used to position each telescoping pin. keyway 006C. Cuts are a combination of two concentric rings. When used in a 4 pin lock. Classic keys are also “convenience” keys because either side can be used for proper operation. this only defends against casual duplication. This provides increased key security because handmade keys are difficult to make. one each for inner and outer pins (Figure 3. the first four cuts manipulate tumblers and the fifth is unused. Keying Specifications Unlike traditional pin-tumblers.8: Bitting of a Mul-T-Lock Classic key.com) 7/56 .Figure 3. a skilled machinist could easily reproduce a Classic key. This is interesting because it means that all Classic keys. Of course. whether they be for a 4 or 5 pin lock. All Classic keys are tip stopped. can be bitted for 5 pins. Though the majority of Classic keys are sized alike. and I have only run across a couple in the dozens of Classic keys I own or have had access to. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. a specially cut key allows telescoping pins to be raised to different heights. These are somewhat rare.
11). as well as off-center warding (Figure 3. With a C outer pin. but instead use side warding. Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). but is still fairly accurate.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins. with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins. There are five depths available for inner pins.10).13). (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber.com) 8/56 . Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. master keying.9).Figure 3. designated A-D. with D being the largest. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. and so on.419. Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade.14). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon. There are other variations which use multiple wards. with 5 being the largest (Figure 3. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. There are four depths available for outer pins. Warding on the blade is the most common. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the inner pin must be 3 or higher. The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns. designated 1-5. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock.12). Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade.857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175). The 06 keyway is the most common.9: Classic bottom pins (all). and a total of 1. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key.
Figure 3.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns. Figure 3. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.Figure 3. by far the most common Classic key profile. Figure 3. Figure 3.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade.10 (Left): The 006C.com) 9/56 .
Figure 3.com) 10/56 . The last (right) is shared with the Interactive.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total.15: Classic key bow styles. but key bows are available in ten different colors. There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow.15). Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding.16). Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down. The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3. Figure 3. Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools.1). keys may be bitted on either side of the key. Security Analysis.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. which we'll discuss in Section 8. two of which are unique (Figure 3.
More on what UL certification means in Section 8. are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3.17). near the second and third pin chamber.18). above the keyway and steel rods. Figure 3.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry.17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder.19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. overall. The other components used. Figure 3. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder. above the plug (Figure 3.19). above and below the keyway. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 11/56 . One is normal. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug. Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. The UL version provides better resistance to attack. in both the UL and non-UL cylinders.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug. Figure 3. Security Analysis.
Many of the principles of the Classic are used in other models. the MulT-Lock Interactive. the quality of most of these knock-offs is poor. In the next section we'll look at the second generation of Mul-T-Lock telescoping locks. While they provide a similar telescoping pin system. and in my opinion is probably “good enough” for most small businesses. but you can still get the Classic from many online vendors and local locksmiths. 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. but it is still a great medium security cylinder (by modern standards) for residential use. including those of the present day. Conclusion The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock. Of course. the Classic has since been superseded by newer models. various companies now produce knockoff versions of Classic cylinders and key blanks.Classic Clones Since the patent expired on Classic cylinders and keys.com) 12/56 . Now that the patent has expired most dealers have began promoting the Interactive instead. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways.4. key bumping. All keys are tip stopped by the cam. 206 Keyway Figure 4. and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. impressioning.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. anti-forced entry components are the same. various warding styles are used. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive. the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication.com) 13/56 . Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. and visual decoding. 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. and serrated top pins are again the most popular. Figure 4. but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers. When compared with the Classic.
and thus the pins. In that chamber. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The main difference is the chamber with the moving element. with the moving element on the key in the same position (Figure 4. to the correct position (Figure 4.4: The Interactive moving element can be in the first or second pin position. In four pin models.3).3: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions.4).com) 14/56 . Figure 4. In my opinion.2). overall. having the moving element in the second chamber is better. Security Analysis. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element. The pin tip raises the moving element on the key. 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.bitting may be in either orientation. The moving element in the lock may be in the first or second pin chamber. Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8. Figure 4.
5). and Black moving elements. Silver.7).There are three types of moving element. Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used. Moving elements are classified by color. and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock. raises inner pin higher Flat. Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4. which defines how inner and outer pins are raised: Color Gold Silver Black Code Type/Description G S B Convex.6). each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4. four in a four tumbler lock.6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.5: Left to right – Gold. and five in a five tumbler lock. raises both pins equally Concave. The number of side pins available is the same as the number of telescoping pin stacks. Bitting for side pins is on the side of the blade and corresponding cuts are located in the plug and cylinder (Figure 4. raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4.com) 15/56 . right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock. Figure 4. Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins.
but they are just a moving piece of metal. smallest pins The moving element also prevents the ability to directly cast and impression a key.8). respectively. This ability adds two additional pins to the Interactive.7 (Left): Side pin bitting on the side of an Interactive key. They are Z and 0 (zero). Keying Specifications The moving element makes the Interactive key visually distinct. Figure 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Similar bores are located in the cylinder to restrict plug rotation when an improper key is used. At the same time. Classic. including the position and style of the moving element. for outer and inner pins.7 (Right): Side pins inserted into an Interactive plug. 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. something a normal key cannot do. The main advantage of the moving element is the ability to lift pin stacks higher than the top of the keyway. though a cast of the bitting may be used to decode the key. With this information we can produce a working key on a proper Interactive blank.8: Interactive vs. machining blanks for the Interactive is much harder because placement and style of the moving element must be considered.Figure 4.com) 16/56 . Figure 4.
manufacturing. Regardless of the decrease. regardless of the other cuts. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. Figure 4. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. While there is limited side warding.com) 17/56 . One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. in my opinion. Security Analysis. Like the Classic. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange. 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. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. down about 2/3 from the Classic. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. Figure 4. make the Interactive stronger. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4.10). or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. More on this in Section 8. with the G (Gold) moving element. wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. though. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic.The Interactive has downsides. Even if we did.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade. but side warding is limited due to side pins. In spite of this. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack.126 (174 * 6).9). many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. The difficulty in obtaining. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
12). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.12. There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins. The first two are unique to the Interactive.11).12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models.12. I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4. with 3 being the largest. The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4.13).The Interactive uses three styles of key bow. Figure 4. right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. and external master pins as 1 to 3. with 4 being the largest. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins. 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. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins. center) and the internal master (4. The external master (4. The solid master (4. The external and internal masters can be used individually.12. two of which are unique (Figure 4. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014.com) 18/56 .
Each of the solid pins can be combined with solid master pins (4. XX is an even key cut. These each have their own pin codes based on what shape they are (Figure 4. The same goes for outer pins. Using the inner or outer master pins individually is trickier. and if that number is higher than 5 it can't be used. and X+ is a concave key cut. with any inner pin we add its value to the master pin.com) 19/56 .12. left) for additional master keying requirements. three types of solid bottom pins can be used. For example. when using master pins we must consider the pinning rules when master keying locks. Again. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. because we need to consider the MACS between inner and outer pin stacks.is a convex key cut. but with a maximum of 4 (D). all we need to do is run the numbers to make sure we're within our limits. These shapes are similar to the floating pin styles.14). Of course. This isn't too hard if we consider all pins to be numbered. I'll leave figuring out the math up to you :) In addition to the three traditional master pins.13: A Mul-T-Lock Classic/Interactive key gauge with 0/Z and master pins included.Figure 4. X.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the inability to directly cast a key is important. more difficult. Again. Security Analysis. 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. 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. The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. one that makes many techniques.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying. especially bumping. Of course. using the solid master pins drastically reduces the number of available key differs for a given lock.com) 20/56 . In the next two sections we'll discuss variations on the Interactive design. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks. but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange.Figure 4. the CLIQ and 3-in-1. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5. offering a variety of additional and improved security features. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins. Of those. more can be added with solid master pins.
Euro profile. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks. 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. When disassembled. The mechanical portions of the key and lock are mostly the same as the Interactive so we'll skip discussion of them.1). the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines.2).5.com) 21/56 . Figure 5. 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. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ. we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5.ericschmiedl. Introduced in 2004. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics.com). Figure 5. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors.
Figure 5. Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5. Figure 5.4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown. Inside the lock.com) 22/56 . but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log.5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. Note the lack of bitting cuts. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.Figure 5.3).5).3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed. At the bottom of the cylinder and plug. a sidebar-like system is used by the CLIQ to restrict rotation of the plug until authentication has taken place (Figure 5.4). a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5. Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys.
Security Analysis. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned. If not. In either case. and in shape it's more like a large side pin. 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. The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own.000 attempts).6). Electronic Communication When a small contact on the side of the key (visible in Figure 5. I don't have more detail on this process.) The sidebar is rather untraditional. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system. it will blink red. but instead are powered by inserting the key.6) contacts the inside of the lock. The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug. master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock. If the numbers match. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Of course.com) 23/56 . A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8. the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution. Management of CLIQ authentication tokens is provided by Mul-T-Lock through a variety of software packages and the reprogramming keys. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. the plug generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge. (Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls.” Once awake. Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5. At the same time. Unfortunately.Figure 5.
8). The SynerKey may be an effective alternative for small to medium sized installations. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD. These are not CLIQ locks. While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key. but I'm not sure. I would guess this isn't the case. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. Please contact me if you can answer this.8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models. Security Analysis. More on this in Section 8. The SynerCLIQ can be identified because the key bow has a distinct logo when compared to normal CLIQ keys (Figure 5. it is currently unclear whether or not the 2014 patent expiration date for the Interactive will affect the ability to obtain CLIQ blanks. but they do have their own special key bow. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ. or at least those without an electronic component. it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5. At the time of writing this the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is considerably more expensive than almost all other Mul-T-Lock models. Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws.SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic. Figure 5. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models.7). While it provides a high level of security.com) 24/56 .
with modified inner pins and construction keying bores. This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. When the plug is rotated. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6.6. Second. The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so. Figure 6. the inner pins used for construction keying each have a small ball at the top (Figure 6. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work. When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. Figure 6. acting like a master pin. which uses the same Interactive components. In a traditional construction keying system. When removed from the pin stacks.2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. At this point. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. All other pins in the lock are standard. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks. some of the inner top pins have a modified design. When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. but their internals are the same.2). First. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. the 3-in-1's re-keying function changes the internals slightly.com) 25/56 . construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber. Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems. except it uses a break-away component on inner pin stacks instead of a free-floating ball bearing.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug. Unlike the CLIQ.1). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. It allows the user to progressively re-key the lock up to three times given a set of pre-supplied keys.
This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6.3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels. removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and red (Figure 6. Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system.1). Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug.4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line. At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock.5).Figure 6. only the green keys work. The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys. yellow. they are green. Figure 6. Figure 6. When the lock is brand new.4). the yellow key is inserted. creating a new shear line. 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.com) 26/56 . When it is time for the keys to change. From lowest to highest.5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off.3).
In either case. The same logic applies. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems.6). 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system. Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red. we snap off the remaining balls with rotation of the key and they are deposited into the plug bores (Figure 6. 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 MT5 and MT5+. Figure 6. the red key is inserted. Being normal Interactive keys. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 27/56 . only the red key will operate the lock. At this point.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. Figure 6.7). It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. 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. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. Again. In the Classic 3-in-1.
Figure 7. Alpha chamber (far left). showing five telescoping pin pairs.2: The MT5/MT5+ plug. 05 keyway Figure 7. It is a high-security cylinder that offers additional key control and resistance to compromise when compared to previous Mul-T-Lock models. Mul-T-Lock MT5/MT5+ The newest Mul-T-Lock design is the MT5. and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing. when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+. but the MT5 model is essentially the same thing without the sidebar. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system. In my experience. anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Introduced in 2007. the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring.1: The MT5+.com) 28/56 .7. This section will focus on the MT5+. dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system.
The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. the plug walls pinch the Alpha spring into the key.The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7. Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. The pin it raises is rather unique. First. the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key.7). Figure 7. Unlike the Classic and Interactive.2). While the key is inserted. It doesn't seem like this is the case. This is strange given the Interactives variety. slightly different design than older models. we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key.3). away from the bitting area. Looking at the key.6).4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but all samples I have access to are the same.com) 29/56 . which share most pins. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key. 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. causing variations in the Alpha chamber. discussed a little later. the MT5 pins look a bit different (Figure 7. it is not a telescoping but instead a traditional top pin with a very unusual bottom pin. the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7. Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice. Instead. Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7. It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. Like the Interactive. the new moving element. currently. The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. When the key is fully inserted. Figure 7.5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair.4).3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key. Figure 7. Instead. Figure 7.7: The Alpha chamber is not drilled like a traditional pin chamber.Figure 7.6 (Right): The Alpha spring component (cutaway key) is raised by the plug walls.com) 30/56 .
Actuated by five free-floating sliders.8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug. as any available key blank can be used to create a working key.com) 31/56 .8).9). The sidebar is made of nickel-silver and is positioned at the bottom of the plug (Figure 7. and the bottom (right) interfaces with the sidebar. 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. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The MT5+ does not have this problem. Note the anti-picking false notches. Figure 7. there is basically no point in having it.10).10: MT5+ slider. Figure 7. Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7.
11: Inside view of the plug. Figure 7.12). 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. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 7. showing arrangement of telescoping pins and sliders.12: MT5+ sliders properly aligned.out of the five sliders two define a locksmith region and the other three are variable. This is an adequate method of distributing keys with unique sidebars but also allows locksmiths to make working keys for customers.com) 32/56 . the sidebar can now be retracted and plug rotated.11). sliders are positioned horizontally. When all sliders are properly aligned the sidebar can fall into their true notches and plug rotation is no longer restricted (Figure 7.
13: The MT5+ key with telescoping bitting. The MT5+ key is quite different due to the use of the sidebar (Figure 7. the MT5+ uses a laser track cut for the sidebar pins. almost the same as the Interactive. Though both use the traditional telescoping pin cuts.13). such as those in the Scorpion CX-5 and the EVVA 3KS. the MT5/MT5+ can be bitted in various orientations. Keying Specifications The normal MT5 key works much like a traditional Mul-T-Lock key. Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper.Figure 7. Like the restrictions for the Interactive's moving element. Five telescoping pins are raised and the Alpha spring raises the pins in the Alpha chamber. and laser track sidebar. Alpha spring. If you have this information please contact me. The most interesting aspect of the MT5+ is that it uses both the top and bottom of the blade. MT5/MT5+ keys cannot have warding Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. This is similar to other laser track sidebars. I currently do not have any depth or coding information for the MT5/MT5+ pins or sliders. Like previous models. Warding on the keys for both MT5 and MT5+ are also somewhat unique when compared to other Mul-T-Lock models. The top is used for the telescoping pins and bottom is used for the sidebar pins.com) 33/56 .
but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track. Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7. Figure 7. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock.15). keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models. In addition. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. In the case of the MT5+.15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. In the MT5+.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow.com) 34/56 .14). a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above). Figure 7. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up. warding can be on the laser track. the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques. As you can see.
The Alpha spring is interesting. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In the next section we'll discuss various attacks against each generation of Mul-T-Lock model. USA dealers are supposed to have access to the MT5+ by 2011. In the case of the MT5+. That's it for the discussion of Mul-T-Lock models. but lack of sidebar makes this a bit dubious. The MT5+ is currently not available to USA dealers. but is available from a select few online vendors.Conclusion From a purely mechanical standpoint. as well as design upgrades and varieties provided by Mul-T-Lock to resist each attack. Of course. The regular MT5 has a high number of key differs. If you're planning on upgrading. telescoping pins. The seemingly static position and size of the Alpha spring pins is a little strange. you can always contact your local Mul-T-Lock dealer to see if they have any special connections and whatnot. I'd recommend going straight to the MT5+. It offers a wide variety of protections against both destructive and non-destructive entry techniques. but with the lock being so new Mul-T-Lock has plenty of time to upgrade the design. The MT5/MT5+ is somewhat hard to find. but it operates on the same principles as the Interactive moving element. and warding styles. the MT5+ is the best Mul-T-Lock cylinder to date. The MT5 is not available in the USA outside of second-hand channels. but I don't consider it too different from the Interactive. a wide variety of key differs is available between sidebar. but is available to large installations (I'm assuming you would have to contact Mul-T-Lock or work through one of their dealers). The MT5 is an interesting change.com) 35/56 . Key control is quite high considering the Alpha spring.
Security Ratings All Mul-T-Lock telescoping lock models have earned one or more security ratings. Mul-T-Lock models have received ratings from Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). just that it passed whatever tests the specific rating requires. For example. Having a security rating does not imply that the lock is “high-security”. it is just a “high-er” security standard.8. This has been a source of confusion lately. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Though Mul-TLock is not the first or only company to provide telescoping pin-tumblers. I don't know every trick in the book. Many people associate UL 437 with “high-security. is currently $490 USD). especially when we consider UL 437. they are responsible for many improvements to telescoping systems and dimple locks.com) 36/56 . so this section is one that I could use much help on. and forced entry for 15 minutes.lockwiki.com/index. From a security standpoint. and how Mul-T-Lock models have evolved to deal with these problems. In the same way that beef can be rated Grade “A” by the USDA. In each section we'll go over how different models stack up against an attack. Unfortunately. in general. a popular lock security rating from Underwriter's Laboratories. Due to the cross-over of most of the Mul-T-Lock models I'm going to categorize by attack rather than lock model. A security rating is a way for consumers to know what level of security to expect from a lock. European Committee for Standardization (CEN). and SecuPlus (SKG). Vertrauen durch Sicherheit (VDS). a telescoping system is similar to traditional pin-tumblers. Unfortunately. As Marc Tobias likes to say. please see http://www. The Hercular deadbolt series also have ANSI Grade 1 locking mechanisms. Security Analysis Functionally. American National Standards Institute (ANSI). a lock may be rated to resist lockpicking for at least 10 minutes. many non-destructive compromise techniques are much harder to do. All security ratings are given in time rather than absolutes.php/Security_Ratings. If you have any correction or additions please contact me! Contact information is available at the start of this paper. For a free listing and descriptions of these ratings. as well as many others used around the world. locks have grades which define which attacks they resist and for how long.” but there is really nothing that makes this so. Their UL 437 certification is probably the most notable. vulnerabilities that may exist or previously existed. the exact wording of many standards are not publicly available and are quite expensive to obtain (UL 437. This section will evaluate the strength of Mul-T-Lock systems against a variety of common attacks. for example.
The outer pins being at the shear line is mostly independent of the position of inner pins. then extreme pulling force is applied to pull the lock out of it's mounting. All five pin Mul-T-Lock systems have a total of 10 pin pairs when we consider inner and outer pins. Resistance to lockpicking tools and techniques has been increasingly important since the early 1800s. Figure 8. What this means is that we can pick the lock first by attacking the outer pins then the inner pins. lockpicking is still the most tried and true way of opening almost any lock in the world given the correct tools and. skill. lockpicking is probably the most well known and respected skill an attacker can have.” While key bumping has made headlines recently. a lock's security is highly based on whether or not it can resist lockpicking. a Czech company. Wendt. Lockpicking – Classic & Interactive In terms of covert entry techniques. a locksmith tool company. in truth the Mul-T-Lock is two five pin locks in one. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. make a pulling screw that is effective against a variety of MulT-Lock cylinders. more importantly. They have a video of this on their website. Like this. offers a drill bit that claims to go through an entire Mul-TLock cylinder in about a minute. detailed in earlier sections. It works by being screwed into the keyway. but they make the fatal error of splicing cuts rather than keeping the film running. In modern day. Forced entry is by far the most common method of entry. only that the clock at the top says so.1: A Mul-T-Lock Classic fully picked Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and if successful it is often the fastest and cheapest way to defeat a locking system. While a ten pin lock sounds challenging. we can't confirm that it actually took one minute.Forced Entry Resistance to forced or destructive entry is the primary concern of all locking systems. 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. but some tools and techniques can be used to quickly compromise the older Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. Multipick Service. Mul-T-Lock systems use a variety of mechanisms to prevent forced entry.com) 37/56 . sometimes generalized as “manipulation. Think of it this way: inner pins cannot separate at the shear line before outer pins.
com) Wendt produce two sets of Mul-T-Lock picks (#0702. sets are usually traditional dimple picks with slight modifications. for the most part. Again. #0702-KPR).Figure 8. and those sold by the companies listed above.” . Picking of the inner pins is actually quite easy. Traditional dimple or pin-tumbler picks can also be used but they take more skill to use.com) 38/56 . this should be a much simpler task than ordinary lock picking.2). the lock becomes a five pin dimple lock. more so than the false set of a security pin (Figure 8. because of the angle at which the inner upper pins are trapped. the attacker can move to the inner pins. The Souber dimple pick set is also effective against Mul-T-Lock systems. In particular.Matt Blaze. but is not designed or marketed specifically for this purpose. is that they can get stuck between the inner and outer pins. How do we know when to pick the inner pins? When the outer pins are picked the cylinder rotates slightly. Multipick Service also sell various Mul-TLock picks. When this happens it takes a considerable amount of fiddling to get the pick out. they all bind at once and over-setting is prevented by the severe angle at which the upper pins are held. and. The main problem with traditional picks.crypto.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic in the normal (left) and partially picked (right) positions. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the inner pins can apparently be set in any order (or simultaneously). “Notes on Mul-T-Lock Locks” (www. From here. Both sets resemble traditional dimple lockpicking tools with pointed tips. Matt Blaze's site reiterates this quite nicely: “However. Many times you'll end up having to release tension and start over.
The tool itself has a distinct look and does not resemble the traditional dimple picks sold by most other companies (Figure 8.com) 39/56 .3). Many companies sell the H&M tool. Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8. which is one of the reasons that it is so effective in picking Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8. In addition.5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels. 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.4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip.Figure 8. The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock. Being tip-stopped. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools). The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools. Figure 8.3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up). The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them.4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool. the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins.5). Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and how high up you are raising it. the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated. Figure 8.
6 (Left): An outer bottom pin with counter-milling. gravity does not affect the position of MT5+ sliders. but it is only a matter of time before something is developed. In essence. but a moderate to highly skilled attacker should have no problem with these. but there is no doubt in my mind that a highly skilled attacker could do it. the time required to pick the sidebar may be excessive. but I'm not completely sure why (Figure 8.7 (Right): Some counter-milled pins have a serration at the bottom of the pin. horizontal to the ground. In addition to these. they are difficult to manipulate without hitting the pins. Being located on the bottom of the plug. the normal MT5 is an upgraded Interactive cylinder. While this doesn't make the sidebar a breeze to pick it is still important. inner top pins can also be lightly spooled. the position of the sidebar has an interesting effect on picking. Some pins with counter milling also have a serration on the bottom of the outer pin. When tension is placed on the cylinder the inner and outer pin serrations hook together to prevent picking. In short: when picking the MT5+. Lockpicking – MT5/MT5+ As far as I know.7). Whether or not it can be picked fast enough to defy security ratings is another matter. Figure 8. Because the sliders are placed in between pin stacks.com) 40/56 . Scorpion CX-5). so it should not be much harder to pick. In the case of the MT5+. and depends on the sensitivity of the installation. but I haven't been able to confirm this. there are currently no ready-made picking tools for the MT5/MT5+ cylinders. widespread use of serrated outer top pins has become effective in deterring casual picking. My guess would be as a crude overlifting defense. The H&M tool does not work because of the change in warding and the position of the Alpha spring. Unlike other laser track locks (see: EVVA 3KS. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but are often combined with outer bottom pins that use counter milling (Figure 8. Contact me if you can offer any insight! Figure 8.In order to combat lockpicking attacks Mul-T-Lock has devised a variety of improvements to their locks. Of course. On their own they offer a minimal defense. tension can be completely released and sliders will not move. At this time I have not heard of anyone picking the MT5+.6). used to frustrate lockpicking.
Briefly. as discussed earlier.8: An anti-Michaud Attack top pin.” he found that inner pin-pairs could be raised to lift the outer top pins. inner pins could be raised and they would carry the outer pins. common in almost all new Mul-T-Lock cylinders. allowing all outer pins to be easily picked via overlifting. Once high enough. this prevents the outer top pin from being raised to the top of the chamber through the use of the inner pins. Figure 8.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. Interestingly enough. but there are still decades of locks produced and installed that are vulnerable. Mul-T-Lock's fixed their design by using the recommendation of Eric Michaud and Matt Blaze. Dubbed the “Michaud Attack. Use of solid bottom pins in master keyed systems (see Section 4.8). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. From there.com) 41/56 . the cylinder could be rotated to trap all outer top pins above the shear line. 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. Mul-T-Lock has since fixed this problem. Inside the lock. picking the inner pins is fairly easy. Master keying) also prevents the Michaud attack at the expense of pick-resistance and key differs.
In any event. if unavailable directly. but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. timing. As we discussed. especially now that the patent has expired. While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. which is surprisingly hard to find. I don't agree that every video is a hoax. Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate. personally. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element. With the Alpha spring in a static position and shape. as they are assembled in our factories and distributed throughout our network of authorized professional dealers are not susceptible to this type of attack. The universal Mul-T-Lock bump key seems to be elusive. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. This isn't too hard for the Classic. The MT5+. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. however. but it is possible. we consider the MT5/MT5+. In short. force.com) 42/56 . The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. Finally.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. The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10. 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. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. this is still disputed. 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. In my experience. This leaves the Black (B).” While I understand Mul-T-Lock's apprehension about admitting they have a (potential) problem. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar. and a properly cut bump key all play a role. is almost certainly not bump-able. but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. I can't point out real versus fake. This may be challenging. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult.
Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist bumping.9). Of these. Mul-T-Lock chose to implement a pin type they refer to as the “Split-D” pin (Figure 8. Regardless. Figure 8.9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin. Interactive. for key bumping resistance. and claims to prevent bumping attacks. preventing it from separating at the shear line. but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys. holds a variety of patents for bump-resistant pin-tumbler designs. 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. but this is not terribly accurate. but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense. not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping. The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get. Each fit into one another.com) 43/56 . most bumping attacks put tension on the cylinder only after it has been struck with a bump hammer. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness.Moshe Dolev. While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. At the moment I feel that the Classic. and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped.
or silicon. With a telescoping system (and a dimple key) this is problematic. and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. If you look at a Classic key. to say the least. As we discussed in previous sections.10). With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins. This is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand.5 mm high. Figure 8. this is most effective against the Classic.com) 44/56 . we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. we know where to file to produce a working key. With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay. wax. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool. With these. In a normal pin-tumbler. Rather than fabricating full Classic blanks I decided to make a small piece of brass that simulates only the actual bitting area (Figure 8. It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. Manipulation-based impressioning uses a blank key to gather information from the lock itself. In both cases it is time consuming. This technique could still be used (against all models. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins. Due to the telescoping pins we would need to make outer cuts without touching the inner area.Impressioning Impressioning is a covert entry technique used to open and make a working key for a lock. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques. It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2. made out of brass. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard.
This was troublesome because I wasn't sure where to file. With extremely low pins it is helpful to file at an angle to prevent the tool from breaking easily (a common dimple impressioning trick). but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually. The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. viewed under UV light. of course. Figure 8. Early attempts to make impressions were successful. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 8.com) 45/56 . With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming.11: Impressioning marks on the tool. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. In addition to inner and outer pins. You could continue impressioning. I moved to a UV-based system.12). Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins.47 mm of material on the tool.11). Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8.The tool is inserted between the bitting wards and a separate tension tool is used. Aside from the ability to clearly see marks with UV ink. large inner pins leave as little as 0. the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts. With UV it is easy to find marks as well as identify what made each mark (Figure 8.12: Tool after the first round of filing. Additionally. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking.
Many modern dimple locks are vulnerable to this type of attack. but the telescoping pins are again a problem. Given the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ is used in various government and high-security installations (namely airports). but it seems plausible. 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. In the tool's description Mul-T-Lock is grouped in a category with other locks and it basically says. A mold taken of any Mul-T-Lock key could be decoded to determine the bitting and sidebar patterns for the lock. It would be neat if the tool came like this. With the information gained from decoding a working key can be made by hand or with a key cutting machine.Pressure-responsive impressioning may also be possible. At this time I have not seen a Mul-T-Lock impressioned this way. “some may be harder to pick and decode than others. lead. Falle-Safe offers an impressioning tool for Mul-T-Lock systems. including the full keyway profile (See Appendix A). At the time of writing this. Electronic Attacks (CLIQ & SynerKey) CLIQ security is currently a hot topic. or soft wood) to quickly impression the lock. More information on these vulnerabilities will be added when it is made available. I believe this is a progressive key system but I have not been able to get a better description or see one in person. the Tobias boys are practicing responsible disclosure in order to make sure all the major players are prepared if/when they release vulnerability information. Decoding is somewhat ambiguous. Please contact me if you have more information! Contact details are available at the start of the paper. Mul-T-Lock does not use any bitting codes on factory original keys that could be used to decode them. I believe it is just a traditional dimple pick set and a standard lever type decoder. With this technique we use a soft. but ultimately it is not hard to do by hand. With the H&M picking tool. in general. specific vulnerability information is unavailable but I am told it is quite serious.com) 46/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Classic and Interactive key cards use direct codes.” What this means for Mul-T-Lock specifically is unclear. I have not had access this system in person so I cannot comment further. marks could be made to decode the lock while it is being picked. Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis reported they found various mechanical and electronic vulnerabilities in the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. but the associated key cards so. malleable material (such as foil. Falle-Safe offers a picking and decoding system they claim work with Mul-T-Lock systems. so it is hard to pin down exactly what decoding techniques the Mul-T-Lock may be vulnerable to.
While they provide increasing resistance to attack over the years. it just moves the floating component to the back of the lock and adds a sixth pin-stack. Thank you for reading. best known for their telescoping “pin-inpin” systems. datagram. Newer models. and locksport visit http://www. The addition of the sidebar is a dramatic improvement over previous models. in some cases) will do an adequate job of providing protection. offering high pick. and impressioning resistance. Summer 2009 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Aside from the CLIQ. offering a solid defense against various destructive and non-destructive entry methods.com) 47/56 . the MT5+ is Mul-T-Lock's best cylinder to date. While older models are not without problems. can provide security even in high security situations. Be sure to keep reading further for various appendices that you might find interesting and useful. safes. 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. In my opinion the normal MT5 is not much of an improvement over the Interactive model.com.9. particularly the MT5+. I hope you learned from and enjoyed this paper! For more articles on locks. bump. The choice of lock will depend on the type of installation and the security required. In most low to medium security installations the Mul-T-Lock Interactive (and even Classic. We went over the various Mul-T-Lock models and learned how each works. Conclusion Mul-T-Lock is a world leader in locking technology. forensic locksmithing. even the newer MT5 models. they are still effective in providing security to the majority of installations.lockpickingforensics. 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. they all use the same basic locking principles.
The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and moving element type (where applicable). yellow. square plastic (Blue) Interactive.Appendix A: Keying Specifications Key Bows Mul-T-Lock keys follow a simple key coloring and coding convention to identify the lock model. nickel silver MT5/MT5+. oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ.com) . or red bow. square plastic (Black) Classic. keyway profile. 3-in-1 Classic keys may instead use a black square plastic bow with colored inserts. nickel silver Classic/Interactive. moving element position. round plastic Interactive.
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. if necessary.Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ. Key codes can be found on the blade. Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code.com) 49/56 . X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). just below the bow of the key. Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY. Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. Z-0) B Black (outer 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.
15 mm 6.50 mm 1.45 mm Inner 4.00 mm 1.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.65 mm 5.00 mm 0.com) 50/56 .40 mm 1. 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.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) 2.75 mm 5. both pins equal Concave.75 mm 6.45 mm 0.20 mm 5. Interactive CLIQ. Interactive.25 mm Pin Length Outer 4.45 mm 0. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.75 mm 7.97 mm 0.95 mm 0.65 mm Applicable to Classic. inner pin higher Flat.25 mm 6.65 mm 6.25 mm 5.50 mm 1.95 mm 1.
MT5/MT5+ Alpha Spring Specifications Currently not available. MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.com) 51/56 .MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.
W Padlock series: C “Heavy duty” (silver. and with a shrouded/protected shackle. look at the table for clarification.com) . sliding bolt. Some E series padlocks may also be sliding bolt. Notes • • • • • • ZZ is frequently shortened to Z. PC). Y may expand to YY if the 'C' option is used (such as xC. Sometimes ZZ and Y are swapped. A C13xCx defines a C series padlock with 13 mm of shackle clearance. your choice of popping or removable shackle.Appendix B: Padlock Naming Conventions Mul-T-Lock padlock model numbers follow the format of WXXYZZ. varieties in shackle size. round body. Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE]. the G44P defines a G series padlock. 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. and nonshrouded. YZZ is sometimes omitted when browsing online stores or locksmith catalogs. it is not restricted to the T series. 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. 52/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. rectangular or square) E “Extra-high duty” (black/silver with a colored strip at the bottom) G “Medium duty” (silver. square and lightly rounded) T “Heavy duty” (silver. 44 mm in horizontal length.
E series shrouded padlock 2000.876 Padlock 7.839.520. too.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6. bolts and latches.086. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. Classic key blank 1991. E series padlock. E series padlock (body only) 1998.267. Classic cylinder 1987. padlocks.035 Locking apparatus 5. Gear shift lock 1991. or keys. Some other patents are excluded.309 Cylinder lock 5. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there. Classic key blank 1992. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005.259 Pick resistant lock 10. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990.307 Gear shift lock 5.856.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Cylinder guard shield. E series high shroud 1998. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990.331. all of which are interesting. Classic key blank 1993.593. Classic key blank 1993. Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.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.123. key machines. 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.389 Cylinder lock 4. shrouded (body only) 1998.268 Cylinder lock 5. E series padlock (body only) 1998.com) . Classic key blank 1994. Interactive cylinder 1998. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5.910 Locking apparatus 5. E series low shroud 2000.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977. Classic cylinder 1990. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998.142.393. Interactive cylinder 1996. and automotive patents.784.
606. D Lock housing 122. C series padlock 1981. (Cool patent) 118. D Anti-theft apparatus 150. D Padlock assembly 104.607 Key for cylinder locks 80. D Cylinder lock guard 99.” Some have interesting titles. D Door lock 110. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996. D Pick resistant lock 1996. D Padlock 62. D Padlock 102. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. D Padlock 99.349. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase.705. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992. Patent # Title Description 1976.509.563. D Cylinder lock 119.998. Classic cylinder 1990. D Cylinder lock 59. D Covering arrangement 67.263. D Pin-tumbler lock 90. Cylinder guard shield 1991.984.034.153. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986.982.696. D Locking device 83. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982.com) . Cylinder guard shield. D Anti-tampering lock 117. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings.159. D Locking apparatus 109. Interactive cylinder 1994.095. D Padlock 129.808. Classic cylinder 1989.362. D Cylinder lock 103. Interactive cylinder 1994.041. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992. Interactive key bows 1994.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files.954. D Locking system 116. D Key head 109. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. Classic cylinder 1980. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992. D Cylinder lock guard 96. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987.211. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990.623. D Tamper resistant lock 102.754. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50. D Cylinder lock 92.351.323. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document.701.
” but these are usually slider based. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935.996. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.244. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951.022. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5.158.760.653.095.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock.889 Tumbler mechanism 3.304 Description 1897.com) 55/56 . I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.070 Lock 2.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping.500 Lock 2.869.222.365 1.501 Tumbler lock 2.750 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. Odd dimple lock.383 Cylinder lock 5. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4.894.436 917.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.722 Cylinder lock 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917.818. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.856 1987. immune) 1973. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914.
ericschmiedl. Eric is a great photographer (and lock picker!).Credits.com) 56/56 . References & Resources All patents referenced in the history section are available in Appendix C.com/index. These pages in particular might interest you: • • • • • http://www. visit LockWiki.php/Pin_tumbler While not in the scope of Mul-T-Lock systems. and other systems was quite motivational and helpful in deciding how to organize this paper.com/newsdetails. In no particular order: Jon King (JK_the_Cjer). press releases.asp?newsid=58 If you'd like more information on the locking systems and attack techniques discussed. stderr. Deviant Ollam. locksmithing.lockwiki. Matt Blaze has an excellent introduction to Mul-T-Lock Classic cylinders on his website: http://www.crypto.php/Mul_T_Lock http://www.lockwiki. and last but not least.com/index. Security Analysis) is available at: http://mul-t-lockusa.com. scorche.php/Lockpicking http://www.nl. Tobias Bluzmanis.toool.lockwiki. Abloy. buttes.php/Bumping http://www.com/index. The full text of Mul-T-Lock's key bumping press release (discussed in Section 8.com/index.lockwiki. and promotional material. and forensic locksmithing.lockwiki. A few pictures were used from Mul-T-Lock's site(s).com/index.php/Security_Ratings http://www. Han Fey's work with ASSA. Eric Schmiedl. Babak Javadi. If you liked reading this paper you'll enjoy many of those sites.com. His articles on various high security locks can be found on TOOOL NL's website: http://www. but if you are Mul-T-Lock and you are unhappy about me using these please let me know and I will remove them. Much thanks to Eric Schmiedl for letting me use his fantastic CLIQ photos for Section 5. His page was helpful in understanding how to explain high security locks without making everything too complicated. Thanks for reading! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com/photos/misc/mul-t-lock/. visit his portfolio at http://www. DOM. be sure to visit the Links page for a list of sites related to locksport. I considered these to be “fair use” under United States law. Marc Weber Tobias. Thanks Many people helped make this paper a reality. too.
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