Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security

datagram, Summer 2009

1. Introduction
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 datagram.layerone@gmail.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.
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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.

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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.

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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

Telescoping Systems
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.

Telescoping Pins

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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Figure 3. Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs. and mushroom top pins.6). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.7.” discussed further in Section 8. most companies stick with one. This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack. mushroom. including: spooled. inner pin. serrated.com) 6/56 . 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.7: Spooled. and inner spring (Figure 3. Security Analysis. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance. but only partially. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down.Figure 3. Also note the serrated inner pin (right).7). The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack. Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3.

When used in a 4 pin lock. a specially cut key allows telescoping pins to be raised to different heights.com) 7/56 . Notice the concentric cuts used to position each telescoping pin.8: Bitting of a Mul-T-Lock Classic key. especially due to the horizontal orientation of the dimple key. a skilled machinist could easily reproduce a Classic key. All Classic keys are tip stopped. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Though the majority of Classic keys are sized alike. can be bitted for 5 pins.Figure 3. one each for inner and outer pins (Figure 3. These are somewhat rare. whether they be for a 4 or 5 pin lock. this only defends against casual duplication. Cuts are a combination of two concentric rings. there are some that use a shorter key (cuts are still properly spaced). Classic keys are also “convenience” keys because either side can be used for proper operation. This is interesting because it means that all Classic keys. Keying Specifications Unlike traditional pin-tumblers. the first four cuts manipulate tumblers and the fifth is unused. This provides increased key security because handmade keys are difficult to make. keyway 006C. Of course.8). and I have only run across a couple in the dozens of Classic keys I own or have had access to. meaning further insertion is prevented by the tip of the key contacting the cam (back) of the lock.

There are five depths available for inner pins.12).9: Classic bottom pins (all). All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber. Warding on the blade is the most common.419. (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock.9).857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175). and a total of 1. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3. but is still fairly accurate. and so on. with D being the largest. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins.13). Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key. with 5 being the largest (Figure 3.Figure 3. The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns. With a C outer pin. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade. but instead use side warding. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. the inner pin must be 3 or higher. designated A-D. There are four depths available for outer pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 8/56 . Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3.11). The 06 keyway is the most common. designated 1-5. master keying.14). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins.10). the inner pin must be 2 or higher. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon. as well as off-center warding (Figure 3. There are other variations which use multiple wards.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins. Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade.

Figure 3. by far the most common Classic key profile. Figure 3.10 (Left): The 006C. Figure 3.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns.Figure 3.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.com) 9/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade. Figure 3.

keys may be bitted on either side of the key. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total. There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. but key bows are available in ten different colors.15).com) 10/56 . two of which are unique (Figure 3. Security Analysis. Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools.15: Classic key bow styles.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. 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. Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down. The last (right) is shared with the Interactive.1). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.16). Figure 3. The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007. Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding.

The UL version provides better resistance to attack. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3. The other components used. Security Analysis. Figure 3. More on what UL certification means in Section 8. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. above the plug (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. One is normal. Figure 3. Figure 3.19).18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). in both the UL and non-UL cylinders. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder.17). are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. above the keyway and steel rods.19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components.com) 11/56 . near the second and third pin chamber.18). overall. above and below the keyway.

Conclusion The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock. but it is still a great medium security cylinder (by modern standards) for residential use. including those of the present day. In the next section we'll look at the second generation of Mul-T-Lock telescoping locks. 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.Classic Clones Since the patent expired on Classic cylinders and keys. Now that the patent has expired most dealers have began promoting the Interactive instead. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 12/56 . the MulT-Lock Interactive. the quality of most of these knock-offs is poor. Of course. and in my opinion is probably “good enough” for most small businesses. the Classic has since been superseded by newer models. While they provide a similar telescoping pin system. Many of the principles of the Classic are used in other models. but you can still get the Classic from many online vendors and local locksmiths. various companies now produce knockoff versions of Classic cylinders and key blanks.

key bumping. All keys are tip stopped by the cam. 206 Keyway Figure 4.com) 13/56 . When compared with the Classic. Figure 4. various warding styles are used.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive. and visual decoding. The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways. impressioning.4. but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs. the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication. 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. Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. and serrated top pins are again the most popular. anti-forced entry components are the same.

having the moving element in the second chamber is better.3: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions.4: The Interactive moving element can be in the first or second pin position. with the moving element on the key in the same position (Figure 4. In my opinion. and thus the pins. overall. Security Analysis. a normal pin stack is used but on the bottom of the plug is a spring-biased component that resembles a pin tip (Figure 4.3).2). In that chamber. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element. In four pin models.4). Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8. Figure 4. to the correct position (Figure 4. Figure 4.com) 14/56 . The pin tip raises the moving element on the key.bitting may be in either orientation. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. 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.

and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock. and five in a five tumbler lock.There are three types of moving element. right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock. raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4. Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins. four in a four tumbler lock.6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. which defines how inner and outer pins are raised: Color Gold Silver Black Code Type/Description G S B Convex.5: Left to right – Gold.7). Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used. Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4. Silver. raises both pins equally Concave.com) 15/56 . Moving elements are classified by color. and Black moving elements. 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. Figure 4.5). raises inner pin higher Flat. each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4.6).

Keying Specifications The moving element makes the Interactive key visually distinct. With this information we can produce a working key on a proper Interactive blank. This ability adds two additional pins to the Interactive.7 (Left): Side pin bitting on the side of an Interactive key.Figure 4.8: Interactive vs. Similar bores are located in the cylinder to restrict plug rotation when an improper key is used.com) 16/56 .7 (Right): Side pins inserted into an Interactive plug. The main advantage of the moving element is the ability to lift pin stacks higher than the top of the keyway. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Classic. including the position and style of the moving element.8). something a normal key cannot do. smallest pins The moving element also prevents the ability to directly cast and impression a key. Figure 4. but they are just a moving piece of metal. respectively. though a cast of the bitting may be used to decode the key. They are Z and 0 (zero). At the same time. Many people mistake these for magnets or some form of electronic component. Each is a cut smaller than the Classic's smallest pins (Figure 4. Figure 4. for outer and inner pins. machining blanks for the Interactive is much harder because placement and style of the moving element must be considered.

make the Interactive stronger. Regardless of the decrease. though. It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. While there is limited side warding. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. Even if we did. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position. 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. Like the Classic. regardless of the other cuts. in my opinion. In spite of this. with the G (Gold) moving element.com) 17/56 . Figure 4.126 (174 * 6).10).The Interactive has downsides. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. The difficulty in obtaining. which means cylinders can never have visible warding.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile.9). Figure 4. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. More on this in Section 8. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. Security Analysis. manufacturing. wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. but side warding is limited due to side pins. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4. many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. down about 2/3 from the Classic.

right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually. The external master (4. 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. The external and internal masters can be used individually. and external master pins as 1 to 3.11). two of which are unique (Figure 4.12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins. The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4. Figure 4.12. The solid master (4. Figure 4.12). center) and the internal master (4. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic. I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4.The Interactive uses three styles of key bow.12. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. The first two are unique to the Interactive.12. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion.com) 18/56 . There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014. with 4 being the largest.13). with 3 being the largest.

and if that number is higher than 5 it can't be used. 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. Again. and X+ is a concave key cut.12. For example. The same goes for outer pins. when using master pins we must consider the pinning rules when master keying locks. left) for additional master keying requirements. XX is an even key cut. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. with any inner pin we add its value to the master pin. I'll leave figuring out the math up to you :) In addition to the three traditional master pins. Each of the solid pins can be combined with solid master pins (4. Using the inner or outer master pins individually is trickier. but with a maximum of 4 (D).Figure 4. three types of solid bottom pins can be used. This isn't too hard if we consider all pins to be numbered.13: A Mul-T-Lock Classic/Interactive key gauge with 0/Z and master pins included.com) 19/56 . These shapes are similar to the floating pin styles. X. all we need to do is run the numbers to make sure we're within our limits.14). Of course.is a convex key cut.

Of those. more difficult. the CLIQ and 3-in-1.com) 20/56 . The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5. one that makes many techniques. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks. using the solid master pins drastically reduces the number of available key differs for a given lock. Of course. Again. 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. especially bumping. but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange. the inability to directly cast a key is important.Figure 4. The Michaud attack is discussed in-depth in Section 8. In the next two sections we'll discuss variations on the Interactive design. Security Analysis. Conclusion The Mul-T-Lock Interactive is in many ways an improvement over the Classic. more can be added with solid master pins.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying. offering a variety of additional and improved security features.

5. Figure 5. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines.com). When disassembled. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors. The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5.com) 21/56 .ericschmiedl. Figure 5. we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Euro profile. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ. 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. The mechanical portions of the key and lock are mostly the same as the Interactive so we'll skip discussion of them.2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics.2). Introduced in 2004. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ.1). 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.

At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.5).4). Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys. but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log.3).5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5. a sidebar-like system is used by the CLIQ to restrict rotation of the plug until authentication has taken place (Figure 5. Figure 5. Figure 5. Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5.com) 22/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed.Figure 5. Note the lack of bitting cuts.4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown. Inside the lock.

If not. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned.” Once awake. A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8. but instead are powered by inserting the key. it will blink red. Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock.000 attempts). The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. If the numbers match. If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green. and in shape it's more like a large side pin. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5. (Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown. Unfortunately. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock.Figure 5. Electronic Communication When a small contact on the side of the key (visible in Figure 5. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1.com) 23/56 . Security Analysis. the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution. 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 generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge. master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. Management of CLIQ authentication tokens is provided by Mul-T-Lock through a variety of software packages and the reprogramming keys. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system. I don't have more detail on this process. In either case. Of course.) The sidebar is rather untraditional.6) contacts the inside of the lock. At the same time. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal.6). The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug. The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered.

The SynerCLIQ can be identified because the key bow has a distinct logo when compared to normal CLIQ keys (Figure 5. The SynerKey may be an effective alternative for small to medium sized installations. or at least those without an electronic component. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key.SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5.8). While it provides a high level of security. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models. These are not CLIQ locks. it is currently unclear whether or not the 2014 patent expiration date for the Interactive will affect the ability to obtain CLIQ blanks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic.7).8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models.com) 24/56 . Figure 5. Security Analysis. At the time of writing this the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is considerably more expensive than almost all other Mul-T-Lock models. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5. More on this in Section 8. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations. Please contact me if you can answer this. with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws. but they do have their own special key bow. but I'm not sure. I would guess this isn't the case.

2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. with modified inner pins and construction keying bores. When removed from the pin stacks.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug. but their internals are the same. First. 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. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks. Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems.6. Figure 6. When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. Figure 6. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber.1). When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. Second. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle. acting like a master pin. some of the inner top pins have a modified design. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work. All other pins in the lock are standard.com) 25/56 . The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6. Unlike the CLIQ. At this point. which uses the same Interactive components. When the plug is rotated.2). the 3-in-1's re-keying function changes the internals slightly. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. In a traditional construction keying system. the inner pins used for construction keying each have a small ball at the top (Figure 6.

yellow.3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels.Figure 6. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 6.5).com) 26/56 .5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore. creating a new shear line. they are green. and red (Figure 6. removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6. Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system. 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. the yellow key is inserted.1). At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock. Figure 6. The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys. Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug. only the green keys work. When it is time for the keys to change. When the lock is brand new. From lowest to highest.4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line.4).3). This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off.

Figure 6.7). the MT5 and MT5+. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems. the red key is inserted. In the Classic 3-in-1.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. At this point. Being normal Interactive keys. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way.com) 27/56 . Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system.6). but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time. 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. In either case. 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. 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 6.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The same logic applies. 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. Figure 6.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. only the red key will operate the lock. Again. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6.

In my experience.7.1: The MT5+. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system. 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+. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring. showing five telescoping pin pairs. Mul-T-Lock MT5/MT5+ The newest Mul-T-Lock design is the MT5. and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing. but the MT5 model is essentially the same thing without the sidebar. anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs. Figure 7. Alpha chamber (far left).com) 28/56 . Introduced in 2007. 05 keyway Figure 7. dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+.2: The MT5/MT5+ plug.

When the key is fully inserted.7). Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7.2).com) 29/56 . Looking at the key. The pin it raises is rather unique. The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. Figure 7.The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7.3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins. away from the bitting area. While the key is inserted. discussed a little later. Unlike the Classic and Interactive.4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six). which share most pins. Figure 7. Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice. It doesn't seem like this is the case. the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. currently. It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. slightly different design than older models. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key. causing variations in the Alpha chamber. a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key.3). Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. First. 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. This is strange given the Interactives variety. the MT5 pins look a bit different (Figure 7.5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair. but all samples I have access to are the same. Like the Interactive. the new moving element.6). the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key.4). The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. 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. Instead.

com) 30/56 .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.Figure 7. Instead.6 (Right): The Alpha spring component (cutaway key) is raised by the plug walls. Figure 7. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.

there is basically no point in having it. the use of a sidebar (Figure 7.10).com) 31/56 .Figure 7. as any available key blank can be used to create a working key. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. If all sidebars have the same code.8). The MT5+ does not have this problem. Figure 7.8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar.10: MT5+ slider.9). Figure 7. MT5+ Sidebar MT5+ models have one major improvement over the MT5. Actuated by five free-floating sliders. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought. The sidebar is made of nickel-silver and is positioned at the bottom of the plug (Figure 7. Note the anti-picking false notches.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. and the bottom (right) interfaces with the sidebar. Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7.

Please contact me if you can help answer this. I am unsure how large a “locksmith region” is. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. located underneath and in-between telescoping pin-tumbler stacks (Figure 7. This is an adequate method of distributing keys with unique sidebars but also allows locksmiths to make working keys for customers. When viewed in the plug. the sidebar can now be retracted and plug rotated. When all sliders are properly aligned the sidebar can fall into their true notches and plug rotation is no longer restricted (Figure 7.11).com) 32/56 . showing arrangement of telescoping pins and sliders.11: Inside view of the plug.12: MT5+ sliders properly aligned. sliders are positioned horizontally.out of the five sliders two define a locksmith region and the other three are variable. Figure 7.12). Figure 7.

If you have this information please contact me. The top is used for the telescoping pins and bottom is used for the sidebar pins. Though both use the traditional telescoping pin cuts. The most interesting aspect of the MT5+ is that it uses both the top and bottom of the blade.13: The MT5+ key with telescoping bitting. Alpha spring.com) 33/56 . almost the same as the Interactive.13). The MT5+ key is quite different due to the use of the sidebar (Figure 7. such as those in the Scorpion CX-5 and the EVVA 3KS. MT5/MT5+ keys cannot have warding Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.Figure 7. Five telescoping pins are raised and the Alpha spring raises the pins in the Alpha chamber. and laser track sidebar. Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. Warding on the keys for both MT5 and MT5+ are also somewhat unique when compared to other Mul-T-Lock models. Like the restrictions for the Interactive's moving element. This is similar to other laser track sidebars. the MT5+ uses a laser track cut for the sidebar pins. the MT5/MT5+ can be bitted in various orientations. Like previous models. I currently do not have any depth or coding information for the MT5/MT5+ pins or sliders. Keying Specifications The normal MT5 key works much like a traditional Mul-T-Lock key.

As you can see.15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. Figure 7. the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques.15). above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models. but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track. In addition. keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock.com) 34/56 . Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. In the MT5+.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up. Figure 7.14). warding can be on the laser track. The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7. a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above). This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. In the case of the MT5+.

The regular MT5 has a high number of key differs. but I don't consider it too different from the Interactive. you can always contact your local Mul-T-Lock dealer to see if they have any special connections and whatnot. but it operates on the same principles as the Interactive moving element. The MT5 is not available in the USA outside of second-hand channels. but is available from a select few online vendors. That's it for the discussion of Mul-T-Lock models. In the case of the MT5+. Key control is quite high considering the Alpha spring. The seemingly static position and size of the Alpha spring pins is a little strange. The MT5/MT5+ is somewhat hard to find. telescoping pins. The Alpha spring is interesting.Conclusion From a purely mechanical standpoint. USA dealers are supposed to have access to the MT5+ by 2011. the MT5+ is the best Mul-T-Lock cylinder to date. In the next section we'll discuss various attacks against each generation of Mul-T-Lock model. but lack of sidebar makes this a bit dubious. but with the lock being so new Mul-T-Lock has plenty of time to upgrade the design. a wide variety of key differs is available between sidebar. The MT5 is an interesting change. and warding styles. Of course. If you're planning on upgrading. The MT5+ is currently not available to USA dealers. It offers a wide variety of protections against both destructive and non-destructive entry techniques. as well as design upgrades and varieties provided by Mul-T-Lock to resist each attack. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 35/56 . but is available to large installations (I'm assuming you would have to contact Mul-T-Lock or work through one of their dealers). I'd recommend going straight to the MT5+.

a lock may be rated to resist lockpicking for at least 10 minutes. As Marc Tobias likes to say. just that it passed whatever tests the specific rating requires. European Committee for Standardization (CEN). and forced entry for 15 minutes. This section will evaluate the strength of Mul-T-Lock systems against a variety of common attacks.com/index. Security Ratings All Mul-T-Lock telescoping lock models have earned one or more security ratings. a telescoping system is similar to traditional pin-tumblers. All security ratings are given in time rather than absolutes. For example. and SecuPlus (SKG). the exact wording of many standards are not publicly available and are quite expensive to obtain (UL 437. Due to the cross-over of most of the Mul-T-Lock models I'm going to categorize by attack rather than lock model. Though Mul-TLock is not the first or only company to provide telescoping pin-tumblers. locks have grades which define which attacks they resist and for how long. many non-destructive compromise techniques are much harder to do. is currently $490 USD). Security Analysis Functionally. Mul-T-Lock models have received ratings from Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). please see http://www. vulnerabilities that may exist or previously existed.com) 36/56 . The Hercular deadbolt series also have ANSI Grade 1 locking mechanisms. I don't know every trick in the book. and how Mul-T-Lock models have evolved to deal with these problems. it is just a “high-er” security standard. In the same way that beef can be rated Grade “A” by the USDA. A security rating is a way for consumers to know what level of security to expect from a lock. In each section we'll go over how different models stack up against an attack. Vertrauen durch Sicherheit (VDS).php/Security_Ratings. Their UL 437 certification is probably the most notable. for example. If you have any correction or additions please contact me! Contact information is available at the start of this paper. so this section is one that I could use much help on. From a security standpoint. American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Many people associate UL 437 with “high-security. especially when we consider UL 437. as well as many others used around the world. Having a security rating does not imply that the lock is “high-security”. Unfortunately.lockwiki. For a free listing and descriptions of these ratings. they are responsible for many improvements to telescoping systems and dimple locks. Unfortunately. in general. a popular lock security rating from Underwriter's Laboratories. This has been a source of confusion lately.” but there is really nothing that makes this so.8. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.

and to not splice the clips together. we can't confirm that it actually took one minute. only that the clock at the top says so.1: A Mul-T-Lock Classic fully picked Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. 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. sometimes generalized as “manipulation. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. 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. a locksmith tool company.com) 37/56 . Like this. offers a drill bit that claims to go through an entire Mul-TLock cylinder in about a minute. in truth the Mul-T-Lock is two five pin locks in one. It works by being screwed into the keyway. make a pulling screw that is effective against a variety of MulT-Lock cylinders. While a ten pin lock sounds challenging. detailed in earlier sections. Think of it this way: inner pins cannot separate at the shear line before outer pins. a lock's security is highly based on whether or not it can resist lockpicking. Figure 8. more importantly. skill. lockpicking is still the most tried and true way of opening almost any lock in the world given the correct tools and. All five pin Mul-T-Lock systems have a total of 10 pin pairs when we consider inner and outer pins. Mul-T-Lock systems use a variety of mechanisms to prevent forced entry. They have a video of this on their website. Resistance to lockpicking tools and techniques has been increasingly important since the early 1800s. Forced entry is by far the most common method of entry. but some tools and techniques can be used to quickly compromise the older Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems.” While key bumping has made headlines recently. In modern day. lockpicking is probably the most well known and respected skill an attacker can have. Multipick Service. What this means is that we can pick the lock first by attacking the outer pins then the inner pins.Forced Entry Resistance to forced or destructive entry is the primary concern of all locking systems. Wendt. but encourage them to put up a new video which includes assembly of the lock (to verify all components are present). but they make the fatal error of splicing cuts rather than keeping the film running. a Czech company.

is that they can get stuck between the inner and outer pins. Matt Blaze's site reiterates this quite nicely: “However. From here.” . more so than the false set of a security pin (Figure 8. for the most part. 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.2). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. “Notes on Mul-T-Lock Locks” (www. Many times you'll end up having to release tension and start over. sets are usually traditional dimple picks with slight modifications. because of the angle at which the inner upper pins are trapped. and. Again. When this happens it takes a considerable amount of fiddling to get the pick out. and those sold by the companies listed above.com) 38/56 .2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic in the normal (left) and partially picked (right) positions. Traditional dimple or pin-tumbler picks can also be used but they take more skill to use. the attacker can move to the inner pins. Picking of the inner pins is actually quite easy. this should be a much simpler task than ordinary lock picking. the inner pins can apparently be set in any order (or simultaneously). 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. they all bind at once and over-setting is prevented by the severe angle at which the upper pins are held. Multipick Service also sell various Mul-TLock picks. the lock becomes a five pin dimple lock. Both sets resemble traditional dimple lockpicking tools with pointed tips. #0702-KPR).Figure 8.crypto.com) Wendt produce two sets of Mul-T-Lock picks (#0702.

4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool.com) 39/56 . In addition.5). The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock. Figure 8. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8.3). the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. Tension is applied through a bar that can be placed on either side of the tool.Figure 8. the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated. Because it only lifts when directly under pin stacks there is no guesswork with where the pick is. The tool itself has a distinct look and does not resemble the traditional dimple picks sold by most other companies (Figure 8. Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and how high up you are raising it. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8. The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools.4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip. Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools). Being tip-stopped. The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them. which is one of the reasons that it is so effective in picking Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems.3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up). Many companies sell the H&M tool. Figure 8.5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels.

used to frustrate lockpicking. In addition to these. but a moderate to highly skilled attacker should have no problem with these. Unlike other laser track locks (see: EVVA 3KS. but it is only a matter of time before something is developed. the normal MT5 is an upgraded Interactive cylinder. While this doesn't make the sidebar a breeze to pick it is still important. My guess would be as a crude overlifting defense. In essence. horizontal to the ground. widespread use of serrated outer top pins has become effective in deterring casual picking. The H&M tool does not work because of the change in warding and the position of the Alpha spring. gravity does not affect the position of MT5+ sliders.6 (Left): An outer bottom pin with counter-milling. inner top pins can also be lightly spooled. Whether or not it can be picked fast enough to defy security ratings is another matter. Figure 8. but I'm not completely sure why (Figure 8. the time required to pick the sidebar may be excessive.7 (Right): Some counter-milled pins have a serration at the bottom of the pin. In short: when picking the MT5+. Of course. On their own they offer a minimal defense.com) 40/56 . At this time I have not heard of anyone picking the MT5+. they are difficult to manipulate without hitting the pins. Because the sliders are placed in between pin stacks.7). and depends on the sensitivity of the installation. Some pins with counter milling also have a serration on the bottom of the outer pin. there are currently no ready-made picking tools for the MT5/MT5+ cylinders. In the case of the MT5+. Being located on the bottom of the plug. Scorpion CX-5). tension can be completely released and sliders will not move. Lockpicking – MT5/MT5+ As far as I know. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Contact me if you can offer any insight! Figure 8.6). the position of the sidebar has an interesting effect on picking.In order to combat lockpicking attacks Mul-T-Lock has devised a variety of improvements to their locks. but I haven't been able to confirm this. so it should not be much harder to pick. but are often combined with outer bottom pins that use counter milling (Figure 8. but there is no doubt in my mind that a highly skilled attacker could do it. When tension is placed on the cylinder the inner and outer pin serrations hook together to prevent picking.

” he found that inner pin-pairs could be raised to lift the outer top pins. this prevents the outer top pin from being raised to the top of the chamber through the use of the inner pins. allowing all outer pins to be easily picked via overlifting. picking the inner pins is fairly easy. common in almost all new Mul-T-Lock cylinders. Mul-T-Lock's fixed their design by using the recommendation of Eric Michaud and Matt Blaze. but there are still decades of locks produced and installed that are vulnerable. as discussed earlier. Inside the lock.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. Once high enough. inner pins could be raised and they would carry the outer pins. Dubbed the “Michaud Attack. Mul-T-Lock has since fixed this problem.com) 41/56 . Figure 8. Interestingly enough.8). Master keying) also prevents the Michaud attack at the expense of pick-resistance and key differs. From there. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Use of solid bottom pins in master keyed systems (see Section 4. 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. Briefly.8: An anti-Michaud Attack top pin.

Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate. 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. In any event. however. As we discussed. but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. personally. which is surprisingly hard to find. and a properly cut bump key all play a role. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. we consider the MT5/MT5+. 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.com) 42/56 . is almost certainly not bump-able. In short. if unavailable directly. The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. but it is possible. this is still disputed. I don't agree that every video is a hoax. The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10. The MT5+. This may be challenging.” While I understand Mul-T-Lock's apprehension about admitting they have a (potential) problem. After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. This isn't too hard for the Classic. especially now that the patent has expired. In my experience. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. The universal Mul-T-Lock bump key seems to be elusive. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). This leaves the Black (B).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. timing. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. force. Finally. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult. I can't point out real versus fake. is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders. It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). 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. All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does.

but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get. Of these. 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. The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped.Moshe Dolev. and claims to prevent bumping attacks. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping. for key bumping resistance. Each fit into one another. holds a variety of patents for bump-resistant pin-tumbler designs. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist bumping.com) 43/56 . not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense.9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin. Interactive. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. Regardless. At the moment I feel that the Classic. Mul-T-Lock chose to implement a pin type they refer to as the “Split-D” pin (Figure 8.9). While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. preventing it from separating at the shear line. but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys. but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins. but this is not terribly accurate. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.

In a normal pin-tumbler. With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool.com) 44/56 . With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins. It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. we know where to file to produce a working key. Due to the telescoping pins we would need to make outer cuts without touching the inner area. to say the least. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. made out of brass. In both cases it is time consuming. this is most effective against the Classic. or silicon. 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.Impressioning Impressioning is a covert entry technique used to open and make a working key for a lock. As we discussed in previous sections. Figure 8. This is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand. This technique could still be used (against all models. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard. With these. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. wax. It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2. With a telescoping system (and a dimple key) this is problematic.10). Manipulation-based impressioning uses a blank key to gather information from the lock itself. There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation. we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. If you look at a Classic key.

The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates. In addition to inner and outer pins. Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8. Figure 8. This was troublesome because I wasn't sure where to file. With UV it is easy to find marks as well as identify what made each mark (Figure 8.com) 45/56 . Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins.47 mm of material on the tool. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Additionally. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are. the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts.12). viewed under UV light.12: Tool after the first round of filing.11: Impressioning marks on the tool. large inner pins leave as little as 0. You could continue impressioning. With extremely low pins it is helpful to file at an angle to prevent the tool from breaking easily (a common dimple impressioning trick).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.11). but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually. of course. Figure 8. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. I moved to a UV-based system. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming. Early attempts to make impressions were successful.

Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis reported they found various mechanical and electronic vulnerabilities in the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. A mold taken of any Mul-T-Lock key could be decoded to determine the bitting and sidebar patterns for the lock. but it seems plausible. At this time I have not seen a Mul-T-Lock impressioned this way. “some may be harder to pick and decode than others. Falle-Safe offers an impressioning tool for Mul-T-Lock systems. I have not had access this system in person so I cannot comment further. With the H&M picking tool. I believe it is just a traditional dimple pick set and a standard lever type decoder. At the time of writing this. Mul-T-Lock does not use any bitting codes on factory original keys that could be used to decode them. More information on these vulnerabilities will be added when it is made available. It would be neat if the tool came like this. but the telescoping pins are again a problem. including the full keyway profile (See Appendix A). in general. Given the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ is used in various government and high-security installations (namely airports). In the tool's description Mul-T-Lock is grouped in a category with other locks and it basically says. Electronic Attacks (CLIQ & SynerKey) CLIQ security is currently a hot topic. marks could be made to decode the lock while it is being picked. Classic and Interactive key cards use direct codes.” What this means for Mul-T-Lock specifically is unclear. Decoding is somewhat ambiguous. With the information gained from decoding a working key can be made by hand or with a key cutting machine. Please contact me if you have more information! Contact details are available at the start of the paper. specific vulnerability information is unavailable but I am told it is quite serious. but ultimately it is not hard to do by hand. lead. Many modern dimple locks are vulnerable to this type of attack. Falle-Safe offers a picking and decoding system they claim work with Mul-T-Lock systems. I believe this is a progressive key system but I have not been able to get a better description or see one in person. so it is hard to pin down exactly what decoding techniques the Mul-T-Lock may be vulnerable to.com) 46/56 . With this technique we use a soft.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. malleable material (such as foil. or soft wood) to quickly impression the lock. 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 the associated key cards so.

offering high pick. particularly the MT5+. offering a solid defense against various destructive and non-destructive entry methods. While older models are not without problems. they are still effective in providing security to the majority of installations. and impressioning resistance. best known for their telescoping “pin-inpin” systems.com. and locksport visit http://www. Be sure to keep reading further for various appendices that you might find interesting and useful. forensic locksmithing. In my opinion the normal MT5 is not much of an improvement over the Interactive model. Newer models. While they provide increasing resistance to attack over the years.com) 47/56 . safes. We went over the various Mul-T-Lock models and learned how each works. even the newer MT5 models. I hope you learned from and enjoyed this paper! For more articles on locks. it just moves the floating component to the back of the lock and adds a sixth pin-stack. Aside from the CLIQ. The choice of lock will depend on the type of installation and the security required. datagram.lockpickingforensics. in some cases) will do an adequate job of providing protection. In most low to medium security installations the Mul-T-Lock Interactive (and even Classic.9. the MT5+ is Mul-T-Lock's best cylinder to date. can provide security even in high security situations. The addition of the sidebar is a dramatic improvement over previous models. Summer 2009 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Conclusion Mul-T-Lock is a world leader in locking technology. bump. 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. Thank you for reading. 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.

square plastic (Black) Classic. round plastic Interactive. nickel silver Classic/Interactive. yellow. Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ. The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. or red bow. 3-in-1 Classic keys may instead use a black square plastic bow with colored inserts. keyway profile.Appendix A: Keying Specifications Key Bows Mul-T-Lock keys follow a simple key coloring and coding convention to identify the lock model. square plastic (Blue) Interactive. moving element position. nickel silver MT5/MT5+.com) . and moving element type (where applicable).

Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ.com) 49/56 . Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code. if necessary. 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. 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. Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. just below the bow of the key. Key codes can be found on the blade. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY.

45 mm 0. Interactive CLIQ.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. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.45 mm 0.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available. 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 2.50 mm 1.25 mm 5. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.00 mm 0.25 mm Pin Length Outer 4.50 mm 1.75 mm 6. inner pin higher Flat.40 mm 1.75 mm 7.75 mm 5.97 mm 0. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex.00 mm 1. both pins equal Concave.95 mm 0.95 mm 1.25 mm 6.65 mm Applicable to Classic.45 mm Inner 4. Interactive. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.65 mm 6.com) 50/56 .15 mm 6.20 mm 5.65 mm 5.

MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available.com) 51/56 . 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. 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. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.

square and lightly rounded) T “Heavy duty” (silver. sliding bolt. YZZ is sometimes omitted when browsing online stores or locksmith catalogs. Some E series padlocks may also be sliding bolt.com) . varieties in shackle size. and with a shrouded/protected shackle. 44 mm in horizontal length.Appendix B: Padlock Naming Conventions Mul-T-Lock padlock model numbers follow the format of WXXYZZ. look at the table for clarification. rectangular or square) E “Extra-high duty” (black/silver with a colored strip at the bottom) G “Medium duty” (silver. W Padlock series: C “Heavy duty” (silver. 52/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Y may expand to YY if the 'C' option is used (such as xC. 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. PC). Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE]. and nonshrouded. round body. the G44P defines a G series padlock. it is not restricted to the T series. Sometimes ZZ and Y are swapped. your choice of popping or removable shackle. A C13xCx defines a C series padlock with 13 mm of shackle clearance. Notes • • • • • • ZZ is frequently shortened to Z. 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.

267. too. Classic cylinder 1990.307 Gear shift lock 5. E series high shroud 1998. bolts and latches.331.268 Cylinder lock 5. Interactive cylinder 1996. Some other patents are excluded.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. Classic key blank 1991. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005. padlocks. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998.309 Cylinder lock 5. or keys. key machines.856.393.123.035 Locking apparatus 5. E series shrouded padlock 2000. Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.876 Padlock 7.259 Pick resistant lock 10. Interactive cylinder 1998. Classic key blank 1992.com) .910 Locking apparatus 5.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6. E series padlock (body only) 1998. Cylinder guard shield. and automotive patents. 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.593. E series padlock.839. Classic cylinder 1987. E series low shroud 2000.784. Gear shift lock 1991.389 Cylinder lock 4.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. all of which are interesting. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. shrouded (body only) 1998.086. Classic key blank 1993. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5.142. Classic key blank 1993. E series padlock (body only) 1998. Classic key blank 1994.520.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977.

Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. D Locking system 116. D Padlock assembly 104.701. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986.998.263.607 Key for cylinder locks 80. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982.159. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996. Classic cylinder 1990. C series padlock 1981.954. D Tamper resistant lock 102. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990.696. Classic cylinder 1989. D Padlock 62. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002.362. D Cylinder lock guard 96. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995.349.754. Interactive cylinder 1994. D Cylinder lock 92. D Covering arrangement 67. D Key head 109. D Pick resistant lock 1996. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings.606.509.351. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996.034.” Some have interesting titles. Classic cylinder 1980. D Padlock 129. Cylinder guard shield. D Lock housing 122. D Locking device 83. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50. D Cylinder lock guard 99.563. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. D Anti-tampering lock 117.808. D Pin-tumbler lock 90. D Locking apparatus 109. (Cool patent) 118. D Padlock 99. D Cylinder lock 119. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. D Door lock 110.153.041. Patent # Title Description 1976. Interactive cylinder 1994. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase.705. Cylinder guard shield 1991.211.323. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999. D Cylinder lock 59. D Anti-theft apparatus 150.623. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document.com) . C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992. Interactive key bows 1994. D Cylinder lock 103.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files.095. D Padlock 102. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997.982.984.

222.818. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908.869.022. immune) 1973.760. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.501 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.653.304 Description 1897. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping.070 Lock 2.889 Tumbler mechanism 3.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.856 1987. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990.383 Cylinder lock 5. I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.722 Cylinder lock 4. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5.095. Odd dimple lock.158.894.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3.” but these are usually slider based.com) 55/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935.500 Lock 2.244.436 917.365 1. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914.996.

Babak Javadi. buttes.Credits.php/Mul_T_Lock http://www.com/newsdetails. visit LockWiki. Eric Schmiedl. and promotional material. In no particular order: Jon King (JK_the_Cjer). DOM.lockwiki. The full text of Mul-T-Lock's key bumping press release (discussed in Section 8. press releases. Tobias Bluzmanis.nl. Thanks Many people helped make this paper a reality.com/index.com. and last but not least. be sure to visit the Links page for a list of sites related to locksport.lockwiki. Marc Weber Tobias. Security Analysis) is available at: http://mul-t-lockusa. A few pictures were used from Mul-T-Lock's site(s). locksmithing.crypto. Much thanks to Eric Schmiedl for letting me use his fantastic CLIQ photos for Section 5. These pages in particular might interest you: • • • • • http://www. Matt Blaze has an excellent introduction to Mul-T-Lock Classic cylinders on his website: http://www.asp?newsid=58 If you'd like more information on the locking systems and attack techniques discussed. scorche.php/Bumping http://www. and other systems was quite motivational and helpful in deciding how to organize this paper. Thanks for reading! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.toool. stderr. If you liked reading this paper you'll enjoy many of those sites.lockwiki.com) 56/56 .php/Pin_tumbler While not in the scope of Mul-T-Lock systems.lockwiki. His articles on various high security locks can be found on TOOOL NL's website: http://www. too.php/Lockpicking http://www.com/index. References & Resources All patents referenced in the history section are available in Appendix C.com. Abloy.php/Security_Ratings http://www. Deviant Ollam. visit his portfolio at http://www. His page was helpful in understanding how to explain high security locks without making everything too complicated. Han Fey's work with ASSA. I considered these to be “fair use” under United States law. Eric is a great photographer (and lock picker!).com/photos/misc/mul-t-lock/.com/index.com/index.ericschmiedl. and forensic locksmithing.com/index. but if you are Mul-T-Lock and you are unhappy about me using these please let me know and I will remove them.lockwiki.