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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com) 6/56 .7: Spooled. and inner spring (Figure 3.7.6). Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. and mushroom top pins. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance. Security Analysis. A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down. and serrated (Figure 3. serrated. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems. inner pin. This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack. most companies stick with one. mushroom.7). including: spooled. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs. Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). but only partially.” discussed further in Section 8. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. Figure 3.Figure 3.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin.

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

Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.419.com) 8/56 . though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. master keying. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins.10). The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns.13). All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber. (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. designated 1-5. and a total of 1. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all. and so on. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock. with 5 being the largest (Figure 3.Figure 3. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. With a C outer pin. The 06 keyway is the most common. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade. Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). There are five depths available for inner pins. with D being the largest. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins. There are other variations which use multiple wards. Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins. designated A-D. but instead use side warding.9: Classic bottom pins (all).11). the inner pin must be 3 or higher.857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175). There are four depths available for outer pins. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3.14).9). Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade. as well as off-center warding (Figure 3. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3. but is still fairly accurate. Warding on the blade is the most common.12).

Figure 3.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns.10 (Left): The 006C. Figure 3.Figure 3. Figure 3. by far the most common Classic key profile. Figure 3. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding.com) 9/56 .13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.

Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding. keys may be bitted on either side of the key.15: Classic key bow styles. but key bows are available in ten different colors. two of which are unique (Figure 3. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3. Figure 3. Security Analysis. The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007.com) 10/56 . The last (right) is shared with the Interactive. There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. which we'll discuss in Section 8. Figure 3.16).1). Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools. Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations.15). The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it.

overall. Figure 3. The other components used. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components. Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder.17). Figure 3.com) 11/56 .18).17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder.19). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. above the keyway and steel rods. Figure 3.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. One is normal. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3. Security Analysis.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. near the second and third pin chamber. above the plug (Figure 3. More on what UL certification means in Section 8. above and below the keyway. in both the UL and non-UL cylinders.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry. The UL version provides better resistance to attack.

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

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

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

Moving elements are classified by color. and Black moving elements.6). raises inner pin higher Flat. right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock. and five in a five tumbler lock.5: Left to right – Gold.5). The number of side pins available is the same as the number of telescoping pin stacks. which defines how inner and outer pins are raised: Color Gold Silver Black Code Type/Description G S B Convex. Silver. four in a four tumbler lock. and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock. Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins.com) 15/56 . Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4. raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4. Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used. Figure 4.6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Bitting for side pins is on the side of the blade and corresponding cuts are located in the plug and cylinder (Figure 4.There are three types of moving element. each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4.7). raises both pins equally Concave.

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

manufacturing.9). Even if we did. While there is limited side warding. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. More on this in Section 8. Figure 4. make the Interactive stronger. Regardless of the decrease. regardless of the other cuts. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. in my opinion. Figure 4. many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles. Security Analysis.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade.126 (174 * 6).com) 17/56 .10). especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. but side warding is limited due to side pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange.The Interactive has downsides. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. Like the Classic. In spite of this. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. 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. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. The difficulty in obtaining. though. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. with the G (Gold) moving element. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack. It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. down about 2/3 from the Classic.

The first two are unique to the Interactive.The Interactive uses three styles of key bow. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014. center) and the internal master (4. and external master pins as 1 to 3. I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4.12. two of which are unique (Figure 4. The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion. Master Keying The Classic and Interactive models provide for complex master keying systems through the use of three types of traditional master pins (Figure 4. The external and internal masters can be used individually.12. with 4 being the largest.12. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic. Figure 4. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.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. Figure 4. There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins. The solid master (4.13). right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually.11). The external master (4.12).com) 18/56 . with 3 being the largest.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows.

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

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

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. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.ericschmiedl. Figure 5. the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors. Figure 5.2). such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks.com) 21/56 . Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines. 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.com).2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics.1). The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5. Euro profile.5. we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Introduced in 2004. When disassembled.

a sidebar-like system is used by the CLIQ to restrict rotation of the plug until authentication has taken place (Figure 5.com) 22/56 . Figure 5.5). Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5.3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed.Figure 5. but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log. Note the lack of bitting cuts. Figure 5.5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys.4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown.3). Inside the lock. a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5.4). At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.

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

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

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

5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore. From lowest to highest. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off. and red (Figure 6. Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system.com) 26/56 .5).3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels. When the lock is brand new. Figure 6. The green keys raise all construction pins high enough that the top of the construction ball aligns with the shear line (as in Figure 6. Figure 6. The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys. yellow. Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug. This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6. At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock.Figure 6. When it is time for the keys to change.4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line. the yellow key is inserted.3). only the green keys work.4). removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6.1). creating a new shear line. they are green.

The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. Again. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. Being normal Interactive keys. In either case. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way. 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 is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time. the red key is inserted. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. At this point. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems. Figure 6.com) 27/56 . only the red key will operate the lock. Figure 6. the MT5 and MT5+. we snap off the remaining balls with rotation of the key and they are deposited into the plug bores (Figure 6. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6. Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line.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. In the Classic 3-in-1. The same logic applies.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key.7).

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

a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. the new moving element. While the key is inserted. the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. When the key is fully inserted. causing variations in the Alpha chamber.7). we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key. Like the Interactive.6). The pin it raises is rather unique. Figure 7. slightly different design than older models. It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper.4).com) 29/56 .5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair. 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. which share most pins.3). Looking at the key. Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7. the plug walls pinch the Alpha spring into the key.2). Figure 7. First.4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six). away from the bitting area.The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7. but all samples I have access to are the same. Unlike the Classic and Interactive. the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key. 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. discussed a little later. This is strange given the Interactives variety. Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice. Instead.3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins. The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. It doesn't seem like this is the case. The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. currently.

com) 30/56 . Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 7. Instead.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key.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. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin.

Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key. 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. as any available key blank can be used to create a working key.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug. there is basically no point in having it.10: MT5+ slider.8). Figure 7. The MT5+ does not have this problem. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. MT5+ Sidebar MT5+ models have one major improvement over the MT5. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought.10). Actuated by five free-floating sliders. Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the use of a sidebar (Figure 7.com) 31/56 .8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar.Figure 7.9). Note the anti-picking false notches. If all sidebars have the same code.

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

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

15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. Figure 7. As you can see. 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. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up. In addition. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7. warding can be on the laser track. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock. above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track.14). 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).14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. In the case of the MT5+. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models.com) 34/56 . In the MT5+.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. Figure 7.15). the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques. Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located.

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

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

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

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

Figure 8.5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels. Being tip-stopped. Many companies sell the H&M tool. which is one of the reasons that it is so effective in picking Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. The tool itself has a distinct look and does not resemble the traditional dimple picks sold by most other companies (Figure 8. The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock. Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them.3).4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8. the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated.3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up).4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool.5).Figure 8. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools). and how high up you are raising it. The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools. In addition. Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 39/56 . the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins. 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. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8. Figure 8.

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

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

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

The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. Mul-T-Lock chose to implement a pin type they refer to as the “Split-D” pin (Figure 8. While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping.Moshe Dolev. and claims to prevent bumping attacks. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys. preventing it from separating at the shear line. Interactive. but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense.9). At the moment I feel that the Classic. 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. Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist bumping. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. most bumping attacks put tension on the cylinder only after it has been struck with a bump hammer. for key bumping resistance. Figure 8.9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin. but this is not terribly accurate. and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped. Each fit into one another. not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. Regardless. one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. Of these.com) 43/56 . but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins.

com) 44/56 . this is most effective against the Classic. This is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins. With these.10). Figure 8. made out of brass. It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2. or silicon. 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. and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. If you look at a Classic key. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools. With a telescoping system (and a dimple key) this is problematic. Manipulation-based impressioning uses a blank key to gather information from the lock itself. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques. With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins. Rather than fabricating full Classic blanks I decided to make a small piece of brass that simulates only the actual bitting area (Figure 8. This technique could still be used (against all models. we know where to file to produce a working key.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool. There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay.5 mm high. In a normal pin-tumbler. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. to say the least. we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. As we discussed in previous sections. In both cases it is time consuming. It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard. wax.

com) 45/56 . the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts. viewed under UV light. Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8.12). With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are. With UV it is easy to find marks as well as identify what made each mark (Figure 8. Early attempts to make impressions were successful.11: Impressioning marks on the tool. Aside from the ability to clearly see marks with UV ink. 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. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming. In addition to inner and outer pins. but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually.12: Tool after the first round of filing. This was troublesome because I wasn't sure where to file. Figure 8.47 mm of material on the tool. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking. of course. You could continue impressioning. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins.11). Figure 8. The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates. Additionally. large inner pins leave as little as 0. I moved to a UV-based system.

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

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

The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. 3-in-1 Classic keys may instead use a black square plastic bow with colored inserts.Appendix A: Keying Specifications Key Bows Mul-T-Lock keys follow a simple key coloring and coding convention to identify the lock model. and moving element type (where applicable). nickel silver MT5/MT5+. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. or red bow. nickel silver Classic/Interactive. oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green. moving element position. round plastic Interactive. square plastic (Black) Classic.com) . keyway profile. yellow. Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ. square plastic (Blue) 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. Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code. Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. just below the bow of the key. 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.com) 49/56 . if necessary. Key codes can be found on the blade.Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ.

00 mm 0.25 mm 6.45 mm 0.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available.40 mm 1.20 mm 5.75 mm 5. both pins equal Concave.45 mm 0.75 mm 6.75 mm 7.65 mm 6.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. 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. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.25 mm Pin Length Outer 4.com) 50/56 . Interactive.25 mm 5. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.15 mm 6.00 mm 1.45 mm Inner 4.97 mm 0.50 mm 1.95 mm 1. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex.65 mm Applicable to Classic.65 mm 5. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.95 mm 0. inner pin higher Flat. Interactive CLIQ.

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 . 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.MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. MT5/MT5+ Alpha Spring Specifications Currently not available. MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available.

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

910 Locking apparatus 5. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005.593.393. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990.259 Pick resistant lock 10. E series high shroud 1998.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977. Gear shift lock 1991. key machines. Classic key blank 1993.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. padlocks. Cylinder guard shield. Classic key blank 1992. E series padlock (body only) 1998.123. Classic key blank 1994. too.035 Locking apparatus 5. E series padlock.876 Padlock 7.520.142.389 Cylinder lock 4.307 Gear shift lock 5.086. Classic cylinder 1990. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998.267.839.309 Cylinder lock 5.com) . Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6. shrouded (body only) 1998. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. E series padlock (body only) 1998. all of which are interesting. bolts and latches. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990. Classic key blank 1991. Some other patents are excluded. or keys. 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. E series shrouded padlock 2000. Interactive cylinder 1998. E series low shroud 2000. Classic cylinder 1987.784. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there. Classic key blank 1993. Interactive cylinder 1996.331.268 Cylinder lock 5.Appendix C: Patent Listing This is a list of all the patents I could find that are assigned to Mul-T-Lock relating to telescoping locks.856.

982. Interactive cylinder 1994. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.998. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992.095. D Padlock 62. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992.041.623.com) . marketed as “Top Guard” 1991.607 Key for cylinder locks 80. D Padlock 99. Classic cylinder 1989. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996.349.323. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document. C series padlock 1981. D Tamper resistant lock 102.351. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings. D Pick resistant lock 1996. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002. D Cylinder lock 59. D Cylinder lock guard 99. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50.159. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992. Interactive cylinder 1994. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996. Classic cylinder 1980.034. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990. D Door lock 110. D Padlock 102.211. D Locking system 116.263.984. D Cylinder lock 103. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. Interactive key bows 1994.696.705.153. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982. D Locking device 83. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995.362. D Pin-tumbler lock 90.509. Classic cylinder 1990. D Padlock 129. Patent # Title Description 1976. D Anti-theft apparatus 150. D Lock housing 122. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986.754. Cylinder guard shield 1991.563. D Locking apparatus 109. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999.808. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available.606.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files. D Covering arrangement 67. D Key head 109. (Cool patent) 118.701.” Some have interesting titles. Cylinder guard shield.954. D Anti-tampering lock 117. D Cylinder lock 119. D Cylinder lock guard 96. D Cylinder lock 92. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. D Padlock assembly 104.

Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping.500 Lock 2. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4.722 Cylinder lock 4.653.222.996.760. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3.436 917. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917.383 Cylinder lock 5. I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.” but these are usually slider based.889 Tumbler mechanism 3. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990.304 Description 1897.com) 55/56 . Odd dimple lock. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1.894.070 Lock 2.869.501 Tumbler lock 2.365 1. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk.244.750 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.095.818. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914.856 1987. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. immune) 1973. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951.158.022.

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

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