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datagram, Summer 2009
Hello, I'm datagram, I run www.lockpickingforensics.com and www.lockwiki.com. I chose to write about Mul-T-Lock because they are interesting and (mostly) unique on a technical level. Additionally, there are few references on how they work outside of marketing material, especially for the newer models. (Plus, Han Fey already did Abloy!) This article analyzes Mul-T-Lock telescoping pin-tumbler systems throughout the company's nearly forty year history. We'll also look at security; attacks on the various Mul-T-Lock models and how the company has dealt with these problems. Finally, there are several appendices that provide keying, coding, and patent references for Mul-T-Lock systems. I can be reached at email@example.com. See http://www.lockpickingforensics.com/ for more contact information. Corrections, additions, comments, and criticism are all welcome. Note: While I know more than most about Mul-T-Lock systems there are many areas where I could use your expertise. I've done my best to note these places; please contact me if you can help! All contributors will be properly credited unless anonymity is preferred.
2. History of Mul-T-Lock
Mul-T-Lock is an Israeli lock manufacturer founded in 1973 by Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev. The motivation behind Mul-T-Lock began in 1972 when a customer asked a locksmith to install “four extra locks for her front door.” After installing the locks the locksmith consulted with a friend and the two (Bachri and Dolev) designed a multi-point locking system. They went on to form a company around their system, aptly named “Mul-T” Lock. The company gained international popularity over the next thirty years, designing and patenting a multitude of locking systems. Mul-T-Lock is currently one of the most recognized names in security, being used in a wide variety of high security installations, including many prisons. Mul-T-Lock was purchased by the ASSA-ABLOY group in 2000. Though they hold patents for various locking mechanisms, Mul-T-Lock are best known for their dimple pin-tumbler locks that feature telescoping pin pairs, also known as pin-in-pin. In a normal pin-tumbler, pin pairs have a top and bottom pin which separate at the shear line to open the lock. In a telescoping system there are two sets of pin pairs, one outer pair and one inner pair. The outer pin encases all but the tips of the bottom inner pin pair. Both inner and outer tumblers must be properly aligned at the shear line to open the lock.
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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.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com)
In 1935 Clarence L. Williams and Earl M. Simmons were issued a patent that describes a lock with components described as a “double interfitted pin type.” The patent image (Figure 2.2) shows telescoping pins being used on a traditional pin-tumbler key on both the top and sides of the bitting area. The design of the telescoping pins in this patent most closely resemble early generations of Mul-T-Lock telescoping pins.
Figure 2.2: 1935, Patent images showing outer (13/15) and inner (14/16) telescoping pin-tumblers on the top and side of the keyway. In 1977 Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev, founders of Mul-T-Lock, were granted a patent for a telescoping pin-tumbler lock. Unlike the 1935 version, this would have only one row of telescoping pins and would use a horizontal keyway and dimple key. Another important addition was the inverted mushroom security pins and the use of a rounded mating surface between the pins, plug, and cylinder. This would improve tolerances to enhance keying capabilities and pick resistance. Noach Eizen and Rishon Lezion of Mul-T-Lock were granted a patent in 1987 for a similar telescoping pin lock. The 1977 and 1987 patents are the basis for the Mul-T-Lock Classic model. The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock, the basic principles of which still exist in modern Mul-T-Lock designs. The next few sections will discuss the various Mul-T-Lock models, how they work, and varieties in their design.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com)
3. Mul-T-Lock Classic
The original Mul-T-Lock telescoping design, patented in 1977, is dubbed the Classic version. The Classic is a dimple lock featuring four or five telescoping pin stacks. The addition of telescoping pins does not change how a dimple pin-tumbler lock works, fundamentally. Pins must still be raised to the correct position; only now that includes both inner and outer pins. When all pins are correctly positioned at the shear line the plug can rotate. One important distinction is that inner and outer pins can be raised to different heights, and a specially cut key is required to do so. Figure 3.1: The Mul-T-Lock Classic, 006 Keyway
The Mul-T-Lock Classic is the first in a series of telescoping locks developed by Mul-T-Lock. From the outside it looks like a standard dimple lock (Figure 3.2). When disassembled we see a unique look to both the pin-tumblers and the plug. When the correct key is used inner and outer tumblers are aligned at the shear line (Figure 3.3). When an incorrect key is used inner and outer pairs are misaligned, causing the shear line to be blocked by one or both sets of pins. This design is the basis for all Mul-T-Lock telescoping systems.
Figure 3.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic rim cylinder assembled and disassembled.
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Figure 3.3: The Mul-T-Lock Classic when the correct (top) and incorrect (bottom) keys are used.
Figure 3.4 (Left): Standard Classic inner and outer bottom pins Figure 3.5 (Right): An inverted mushroom (outer) bottom pin The bottom pins consist of an inner and outer pin pair (Figure 3.4). The inner pin is spooled to prevent it from falling through the outer pin, but it also acts as a mild anti-picking mechanism. Outer bottom pins are generally standard, though there are variations that resemble an inverted mushroom that provide picking resistance (Figure 3.5).
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and mushroom top pins. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance. and serrated (Figure 3. most companies stick with one.Figure 3. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Security Analysis. but only partially. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems.” discussed further in Section 8. inner pin. The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack. A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down. This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack. Figure 3. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs. and inner spring (Figure 3. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin.7: Spooled.6).7.7). Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. serrated.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin. mushroom. including: spooled.com) 6/56 .
a specially cut key allows telescoping pins to be raised to different heights. this only defends against casual duplication. Notice the concentric cuts used to position each telescoping pin. 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. there are some that use a shorter key (cuts are still properly spaced).com) 7/56 . Keying Specifications Unlike traditional pin-tumblers.8). the first four cuts manipulate tumblers and the fifth is unused. Cuts are a combination of two concentric rings. This provides increased key security because handmade keys are difficult to make. When used in a 4 pin lock. Though the majority of Classic keys are sized alike. This is interesting because it means that all Classic keys. keyway 006C. can be bitted for 5 pins. and I have only run across a couple in the dozens of Classic keys I own or have had access to.Figure 3.8: Bitting of a Mul-T-Lock Classic key. These are somewhat rare. one each for inner and outer pins (Figure 3. 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. Of course. whether they be for a 4 or 5 pin lock.
With a C outer pin. There are other variations which use multiple wards.12). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins. and so on.10). Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins.14). as well as off-center warding (Figure 3.com) 8/56 . master keying. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin.419.Figure 3. the inner pin must be 3 or higher.13). (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3.857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175). with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3. designated A-D.9). Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all.9: Classic bottom pins (all). The 06 keyway is the most common. but instead use side warding. The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. Warding on the blade is the most common. There are five depths available for inner pins. but is still fairly accurate. designated 1-5. Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade. and a total of 1. All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key. Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. with 5 being the largest (Figure 3. There are four depths available for outer pins. with D being the largest.11).
by far the most common Classic key profile.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade. Figure 3.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns. Figure 3.Figure 3.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.10 (Left): The 006C. Figure 3. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding. Figure 3.com) 9/56 .
Figure 3.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it.15: Classic key bow styles. The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow. Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding. Security Analysis.15). keys may be bitted on either side of the key. which we'll discuss in Section 8. two of which are unique (Figure 3. The last (right) is shared with the Interactive. Figure 3.com) 10/56 .1). There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down. Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools. but key bows are available in ten different colors. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3.16). The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007.
above and below the keyway. Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. Figure 3. One is normal. Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder. Security Analysis. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.19).18).com) 11/56 . in both the UL and non-UL cylinders. The other components used. The UL version provides better resistance to attack. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3. above the keyway and steel rods.17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug.19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. overall.17). More on what UL certification means in Section 8.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry. are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. near the second and third pin chamber. Figure 3. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). Figure 3. above the plug (Figure 3.
Of course. In the next section we'll look at the second generation of Mul-T-Lock telescoping locks. and in my opinion is probably “good enough” for most small businesses. but it is still a great medium security cylinder (by modern standards) for residential use. but you can still get the Classic from many online vendors and local locksmiths. 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. 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. various companies now produce knockoff versions of Classic cylinders and key blanks. Many of the principles of the Classic are used in other models. the Classic has since been superseded by newer models. While they provide a similar telescoping pin system.com) 12/56 . including those of the present day. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the MulT-Lock Interactive. the quality of most of these knock-offs is poor.
but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers. and visual decoding. impressioning. 206 Keyway Figure 4. anti-forced entry components are the same. and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. and serrated top pins are again the most popular.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive takes the design of the Classic one step further by using a moving element in the key to interface with one of the pin stacks. various warding styles are used.com) 13/56 . the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication. All keys are tip stopped by the cam.4.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways. key bumping. When compared with the Classic. Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs. Figure 4.
The pin tip raises the moving element on the key. Figure 4. and thus the pins. The moving element in the lock may be in the first or second pin chamber. overall. with the moving element on the key in the same position (Figure 4.4: The Interactive moving element can be in the first or second pin position. Figure 4. to the correct position (Figure 4. In my opinion. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element. In that chamber.4).com) 14/56 . having the moving element in the second chamber is better. 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: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions.bitting may be in either orientation. The main difference is the chamber with the moving element. Security Analysis. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.2).3). Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8. In four pin models.
com) 15/56 . Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4. and five in a five tumbler lock. each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4. Silver. Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used. Bitting for side pins is on the side of the blade and corresponding cuts are located in the plug and cylinder (Figure 4. and Black moving elements. four in a four tumbler lock. Moving elements are classified by color. 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.6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4.7). raises both pins equally Concave. and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock. right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock.5).6). The number of side pins available is the same as the number of telescoping pin stacks. raises inner pin higher Flat. Figure 4. Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins.There are three types of moving element.
com) 16/56 . With this information we can produce a working key on a proper Interactive blank. Keying Specifications The moving element makes the Interactive key visually distinct.7 (Right): Side pins inserted into an Interactive plug. something a normal key cannot do.8). Figure 4. machining blanks for the Interactive is much harder because placement and style of the moving element must be considered.Figure 4.7 (Left): Side pin bitting on the side of an Interactive key. Classic. Each is a cut smaller than the Classic's smallest pins (Figure 4. but they are just a moving piece of metal. The main advantage of the moving element is the ability to lift pin stacks higher than the top of the keyway. Similar bores are located in the cylinder to restrict plug rotation when an improper key is used. Figure 4. though a cast of the bitting may be used to decode the key. They are Z and 0 (zero). for outer and inner pins. At the same time.8: Interactive vs. including the position and style of the moving element. Many people mistake these for magnets or some form of electronic component. This ability adds two additional pins to the Interactive. respectively. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. smallest pins The moving element also prevents the ability to directly cast and impression a key.
Like the Classic. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. with the G (Gold) moving element. Security Analysis. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4. in my opinion. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit.The Interactive has downsides. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position. regardless of the other cuts. This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers.com) 17/56 . Regardless of the decrease.9). wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. Figure 4. make the Interactive stronger. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. 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. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. The difficulty in obtaining. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. In spite of this. More on this in Section 8. many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. Figure 4. but side warding is limited due to side pins. though. While there is limited side warding. manufacturing.10). It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. Even if we did. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. down about 2/3 from the Classic.126 (174 * 6). with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange.
There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins. I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4. The first two are unique to the Interactive. right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually. Figure 4.12). The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic.12. two of which are unique (Figure 4. The solid master (4. center) and the internal master (4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. with 3 being the largest.13). Figure 4.12. The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins.11).11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. The external master (4.12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models. 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 patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014.12. with 4 being the largest. and external master pins as 1 to 3.The Interactive uses three styles of key bow. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion. The external and internal masters can be used individually. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins.com) 18/56 .
The same goes for outer pins. when using master pins we must consider the pinning rules when master keying locks. XX is an even key cut. I'll leave figuring out the math up to you :) In addition to the three traditional master pins. Using the inner or outer master pins individually is trickier. left) for additional master keying requirements. These shapes are similar to the floating pin styles. and if that number is higher than 5 it can't be used. For example.13: A Mul-T-Lock Classic/Interactive key gauge with 0/Z and master pins included. because we need to consider the MACS between inner and outer pin stacks. but with a maximum of 4 (D). all we need to do is run the numbers to make sure we're within our limits.com) 19/56 .14). with any inner pin we add its value to the master pin.12. X. This isn't too hard if we consider all pins to be numbered. three types of solid bottom pins can be used. Each of the solid pins can be combined with solid master pins (4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Again. and X+ is a concave key cut.is a convex key cut. These each have their own pin codes based on what shape they are (Figure 4. Of course.Figure 4.
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. especially bumping. Security Analysis. Again. Of course. the inability to directly cast a key is important. Conclusion The Mul-T-Lock Interactive is in many ways an improvement over the Classic. but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. Of those. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying. more difficult. one that makes many techniques. offering a variety of additional and improved security features. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins.Figure 4. more can be added with solid master pins. The Michaud attack is discussed in-depth in Section 8. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5. 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.com) 20/56 . the CLIQ and 3-in-1.
ericschmiedl.2). The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks.5. we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Figure 5. The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5. 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. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors. 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.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. When disassembled. Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines. 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.com) 21/56 .com). Figure 5. Introduced in 2004. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec.1). Euro profile. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ.
Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys. Inside the lock. Note the lack of bitting cuts.5). Figure 5. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5.Figure 5.com) 22/56 . At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.4).3).4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown. a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5.5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. Figure 5.3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed. a sidebar-like system is used by the CLIQ to restrict rotation of the plug until authentication has taken place (Figure 5. but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log.
(Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown. The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug. The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own. Of course. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. At the same time. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock.” Once awake.6). Management of CLIQ authentication tokens is provided by Mul-T-Lock through a variety of software packages and the reprogramming keys. Electronic Communication When a small contact on the side of the key (visible in Figure 5. master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. Security Analysis. the plug generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. If not.Figure 5. but instead are powered by inserting the key. the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution.) The sidebar is rather untraditional. A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5. If the numbers match. 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. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal. In either case.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls. Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned. it will blink red. If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system.000 attempts). The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered.6) contacts the inside of the lock.com) 23/56 . I don't have more detail on this process. and in shape it's more like a large side pin. Unfortunately. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1.
but they do have their own special key bow. Security Analysis. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. I would guess this isn't the case. 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. it is currently unclear whether or not the 2014 patent expiration date for the Interactive will affect the ability to obtain CLIQ blanks. with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD. More on this in Section 8. While it provides a high level of security. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but I'm not sure.8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models. At the time of writing this the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is considerably more expensive than almost all other Mul-T-Lock models. or at least those without an electronic component. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic. These are not CLIQ locks. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ. Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws.com) 24/56 . While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key. Please contact me if you can answer this. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5. it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations.8).SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models.7).
com) 25/56 . First. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6. Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems. some of the inner top pins have a modified design. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle. At this point. which uses the same Interactive components. Figure 6. All other pins in the lock are standard. except it uses a break-away component on inner pin stacks instead of a free-floating ball bearing.2). with modified inner pins and construction keying bores. Figure 6. When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. but their internals are the same. Unlike the CLIQ. the 3-in-1's re-keying function changes the internals slightly. When removed from the pin stacks. This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. When the plug is rotated. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1. construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.1). The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work.6. the inner pins used for construction keying each have a small ball at the top (Figure 6. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. acting like a master pin. It allows the user to progressively re-key the lock up to three times given a set of pre-supplied keys.2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. In a traditional construction keying system. Second. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks.
The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys.5). This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6.3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels. Figure 6. removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6. When it is time for the keys to change. creating a new shear line. yellow. Figure 6.1).5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore. only the green keys work.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.com) 26/56 . At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.3). and red (Figure 6. they are green. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off. Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug. From lowest to highest. When the lock is brand new. the yellow key is inserted.4). Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system.4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line.
only the red key will operate the lock. It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs.6). the red key is inserted. Figure 6. Figure 6. Again.com) 27/56 . In the Classic 3-in-1. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems. we snap off the remaining balls with rotation of the key and they are deposited into the plug bores (Figure 6. The same logic applies. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. 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. 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.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. Being normal Interactive keys. the MT5 and MT5+.7). At this point. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way. The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system. In either case. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time.
and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing.7. showing five telescoping pin pairs.2: The MT5/MT5+ plug. dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system.com) 28/56 . when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+. Figure 7. It is a high-security cylinder that offers additional key control and resistance to compromise when compared to previous Mul-T-Lock models. Introduced in 2007. This section will focus on the MT5+. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system. 05 keyway Figure 7. the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring. anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs. In my experience. Alpha chamber (far left).1: The MT5+. 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.
the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key. Instead. the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7. slightly different design than older models. a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key.2).4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six). Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice. Figure 7. Like the Interactive.5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair. which share most pins. Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. The pin it raises is rather unique.com) 29/56 . away from the bitting area. we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key.3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins. Looking at the key.7). The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. 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. Figure 7. When the key is fully inserted. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. the MT5 pins look a bit different (Figure 7.4). Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7. Unlike the Classic and Interactive. While the key is inserted.The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7. It doesn't seem like this is the case.6). it is not a telescoping but instead a traditional top pin with a very unusual bottom pin.3). First. but all samples I have access to are the same. the new moving element. This is strange given the Interactives variety. The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. discussed a little later. currently. causing variations in the Alpha chamber. the plug walls pinch the Alpha spring into the key. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
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. Figure 7. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 30/56 . Instead.Figure 7.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key.
The MT5+ does not have this problem.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug. Figure 7. there is basically no point in having it. as any available key blank can be used to create a working key. Actuated by five free-floating sliders.9). Note the anti-picking false notches.8). If all sidebars have the same code. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key.10). Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7. and the bottom (right) interfaces with the sidebar.8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar. the use of a sidebar (Figure 7. The sidebar is made of nickel-silver and is positioned at the bottom of the plug (Figure 7.10: MT5+ slider. MT5+ Sidebar MT5+ models have one major improvement over the MT5.Figure 7. Figure 7. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought.com) 31/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
12: MT5+ sliders properly aligned. showing arrangement of telescoping pins and sliders. 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. When viewed in the plug. Figure 7.com) 32/56 .11: Inside view of the plug.12). located underneath and in-between telescoping pin-tumbler stacks (Figure 7. I am unsure how large a “locksmith region” is. Figure 7. This is an adequate method of distributing keys with unique sidebars but also allows locksmiths to make working keys for customers. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.11). Please contact me if you can help answer this.out of the five sliders two define a locksmith region and the other three are variable. sliders are positioned horizontally.
Warding on the keys for both MT5 and MT5+ are also somewhat unique when compared to other Mul-T-Lock models. This is similar to other laser track sidebars. the MT5/MT5+ can be bitted in various orientations. The top is used for the telescoping pins and bottom is used for the sidebar pins. If you have this information please contact me. I currently do not have any depth or coding information for the MT5/MT5+ pins or sliders. Like previous models. Keying Specifications The normal MT5 key works much like a traditional Mul-T-Lock key. and laser track sidebar. such as those in the Scorpion CX-5 and the EVVA 3KS. Like the restrictions for the Interactive's moving element. Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. the MT5+ uses a laser track cut for the sidebar pins. Five telescoping pins are raised and the Alpha spring raises the pins in the Alpha chamber. almost the same as the Interactive.13). MT5/MT5+ keys cannot have warding Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Alpha spring. The most interesting aspect of the MT5+ is that it uses both the top and bottom of the blade. The MT5+ key is quite different due to the use of the sidebar (Figure 7.13: The MT5+ key with telescoping bitting. Though both use the traditional telescoping pin cuts.Figure 7.com) 33/56 .
In addition. Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7. the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. In the MT5+. As you can see. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock. a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above).15).15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. In the case of the MT5+.com) 34/56 . but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track. above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.14). Figure 7. Figure 7. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7. keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable. warding can be on the laser track.
The MT5 is an interesting change. as well as design upgrades and varieties provided by Mul-T-Lock to resist each attack. USA dealers are supposed to have access to the MT5+ by 2011. telescoping pins.com) 35/56 . I'd recommend going straight to the MT5+. Key control is quite high considering the Alpha spring. The MT5+ is currently not available to USA dealers. but I don't consider it too different from the Interactive. 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. The seemingly static position and size of the Alpha spring pins is a little strange. In the case of the MT5+. 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 regular MT5 has a high number of key differs. The Alpha spring is interesting. the MT5+ is the best Mul-T-Lock cylinder to date.Conclusion From a purely mechanical standpoint. a wide variety of key differs is available between sidebar. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. It offers a wide variety of protections against both destructive and non-destructive entry techniques. Of course. you can always contact your local Mul-T-Lock dealer to see if they have any special connections and whatnot. but is available from a select few online vendors. 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. In the next section we'll discuss various attacks against each generation of Mul-T-Lock model. The MT5/MT5+ is somewhat hard to find. and warding styles. If you're planning on upgrading. but lack of sidebar makes this a bit dubious.
please see http://www. Their UL 437 certification is probably the most notable. From a security standpoint. A security rating is a way for consumers to know what level of security to expect from a lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. just that it passed whatever tests the specific rating requires. and how Mul-T-Lock models have evolved to deal with these problems.8. American National Standards Institute (ANSI). In each section we'll go over how different models stack up against an attack. it is just a “high-er” security standard. All security ratings are given in time rather than absolutes. I don't know every trick in the book. Having a security rating does not imply that the lock is “high-security”. European Committee for Standardization (CEN). in general. Unfortunately. Security Ratings All Mul-T-Lock telescoping lock models have earned one or more security ratings. Many people associate UL 437 with “high-security. For example. Due to the cross-over of most of the Mul-T-Lock models I'm going to categorize by attack rather than lock model. the exact wording of many standards are not publicly available and are quite expensive to obtain (UL 437. Mul-T-Lock models have received ratings from Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). and forced entry for 15 minutes. For a free listing and descriptions of these ratings. especially when we consider UL 437. a popular lock security rating from Underwriter's Laboratories. Vertrauen durch Sicherheit (VDS). for example. As Marc Tobias likes to say. a telescoping system is similar to traditional pin-tumblers. as well as many others used around the world. vulnerabilities that may exist or previously existed. If you have any correction or additions please contact me! Contact information is available at the start of this paper. they are responsible for many improvements to telescoping systems and dimple locks. is currently $490 USD).php/Security_Ratings. Though Mul-TLock is not the first or only company to provide telescoping pin-tumblers.” but there is really nothing that makes this so. and SecuPlus (SKG). many non-destructive compromise techniques are much harder to do. a lock may be rated to resist lockpicking for at least 10 minutes. locks have grades which define which attacks they resist and for how long. This section will evaluate the strength of Mul-T-Lock systems against a variety of common attacks.com) 36/56 . In the same way that beef can be rated Grade “A” by the USDA. The Hercular deadbolt series also have ANSI Grade 1 locking mechanisms. This has been a source of confusion lately.com/index.lockwiki. so this section is one that I could use much help on. Security Analysis Functionally. Unfortunately.
The outer pins being at the shear line is mostly independent of the position of inner pins. In modern day. offers a drill bit that claims to go through an entire Mul-TLock cylinder in about a minute. detailed in earlier sections.1: A Mul-T-Lock Classic fully picked Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. a locksmith tool company. Wendt. Resistance to lockpicking tools and techniques has been increasingly important since the early 1800s. only that the clock at the top says so. sometimes generalized as “manipulation. and if successful it is often the fastest and cheapest way to defeat a locking system. but some tools and techniques can be used to quickly compromise the older Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. Think of it this way: inner pins cannot separate at the shear line before outer pins. more importantly. a lock's security is highly based on whether or not it can resist lockpicking. lockpicking is still the most tried and true way of opening almost any lock in the world given the correct tools and. Mul-T-Lock systems use a variety of mechanisms to prevent forced entry. All five pin Mul-T-Lock systems have a total of 10 pin pairs when we consider inner and outer pins. While a ten pin lock sounds challenging. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It works by being screwed into the keyway.Forced Entry Resistance to forced or destructive entry is the primary concern of all locking systems. and to not splice the clips together. in truth the Mul-T-Lock is two five pin locks in one. then extreme pulling force is applied to pull the lock out of it's mounting.” While key bumping has made headlines recently. a Czech company. Forced entry is by far the most common method of entry. we can't confirm that it actually took one minute. skill.com) 37/56 . Figure 8. lockpicking is probably the most well known and respected skill an attacker can have. Multipick Service. make a pulling screw that is effective against a variety of MulT-Lock cylinders. but they make the fatal error of splicing cuts rather than keeping the film running. Like this. but encourage them to put up a new video which includes assembly of the lock (to verify all components are present). Lockpicking – Classic & Interactive In terms of covert entry techniques. They have a video of this on their website. What this means is that we can pick the lock first by attacking the outer pins then the inner pins.
“Notes on Mul-T-Lock Locks” (www. Multipick Service also sell various Mul-TLock picks. From here.com) 38/56 . Traditional dimple or pin-tumbler picks can also be used but they take more skill to use.crypto.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic in the normal (left) and partially picked (right) positions. this should be a much simpler task than ordinary lock picking. sets are usually traditional dimple picks with slight modifications.com) Wendt produce two sets of Mul-T-Lock picks (#0702. The main problem with traditional picks.” . Both sets resemble traditional dimple lockpicking tools with pointed tips. How do we know when to pick the inner pins? When the outer pins are picked the cylinder rotates slightly.2).Matt Blaze. they all bind at once and over-setting is prevented by the severe angle at which the upper pins are held. Picking of the inner pins is actually quite easy. the inner pins can apparently be set in any order (or simultaneously). the lock becomes a five pin dimple lock.Figure 8. #0702-KPR). Many times you'll end up having to release tension and start over. In particular. the attacker can move to the inner pins. The Souber dimple pick set is also effective against Mul-T-Lock systems. but is not designed or marketed specifically for this purpose. is that they can get stuck between the inner and outer pins. and. and those sold by the companies listed above. Again. When this happens it takes a considerable amount of fiddling to get the pick out. more so than the false set of a security pin (Figure 8. because of the angle at which the inner upper pins are trapped. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Matt Blaze's site reiterates this quite nicely: “However. for the most part.
4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools).4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool.Figure 8.3). Figure 8. the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated. Many companies sell the H&M tool. Figure 8. The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them. The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock. The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools.5). Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8. and how high up you are raising it. Because it only lifts when directly under pin stacks there is no guesswork with where the pick is. In addition.5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels. which is one of the reasons that it is so effective in picking Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. Being tip-stopped. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8. The tool itself has a distinct look and does not resemble the traditional dimple picks sold by most other companies (Figure 8. the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders.3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up). Tension is applied through a bar that can be placed on either side of the tool.com) 39/56 .
When tension is placed on the cylinder the inner and outer pin serrations hook together to prevent picking. Figure 8. In addition to these. Lockpicking – MT5/MT5+ As far as I know. widespread use of serrated outer top pins has become effective in deterring casual picking.7 (Right): Some counter-milled pins have a serration at the bottom of the pin. the time required to pick the sidebar may be excessive. used to frustrate lockpicking. On their own they offer a minimal defense. but I'm not completely sure why (Figure 8. horizontal to the ground. inner top pins can also be lightly spooled. but a moderate to highly skilled attacker should have no problem with these. but there is no doubt in my mind that a highly skilled attacker could do it.6 (Left): An outer bottom pin with counter-milling. but it is only a matter of time before something is developed. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Whether or not it can be picked fast enough to defy security ratings is another matter. Scorpion CX-5). gravity does not affect the position of MT5+ sliders. While this doesn't make the sidebar a breeze to pick it is still important. In essence. At this time I have not heard of anyone picking the MT5+. they are difficult to manipulate without hitting the pins. but are often combined with outer bottom pins that use counter milling (Figure 8. Being located on the bottom of the plug. Unlike other laser track locks (see: EVVA 3KS.6). and depends on the sensitivity of the installation. Because the sliders are placed in between pin stacks. In short: when picking the MT5+. the position of the sidebar has an interesting effect on picking.7). Some pins with counter milling also have a serration on the bottom of the outer pin. but I haven't been able to confirm this. tension can be completely released and sliders will not move. In the case of the MT5+. the normal MT5 is an upgraded Interactive cylinder.com) 40/56 . there are currently no ready-made picking tools for the MT5/MT5+ cylinders. The H&M tool does not work because of the change in warding and the position of the Alpha spring. My guess would be as a crude overlifting defense. Contact me if you can offer any insight! Figure 8. Of course. so it should not be much harder to pick.In order to combat lockpicking attacks Mul-T-Lock has devised a variety of improvements to their locks.
” he found that inner pin-pairs could be raised to lift the outer top pins. Master keying) also prevents the Michaud attack at the expense of pick-resistance and key differs. but there are still decades of locks produced and installed that are vulnerable. Use of solid bottom pins in master keyed systems (see Section 4. Inside the lock.8: An anti-Michaud Attack top pin. this prevents the outer top pin from being raised to the top of the chamber through the use of the inner pins. Mul-T-Lock has since fixed this problem. Dubbed the “Michaud Attack. Mul-T-Lock's fixed their design by using the recommendation of Eric Michaud and Matt Blaze. the cylinder could be rotated to trap all outer top pins above the shear line. picking the inner pins is fairly easy. Their idea was to make a hole in the top outer pin that allows the inner pin to push through when it is all the way at the top (Figure 8. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. inner pins could be raised and they would carry the outer pins. as discussed earlier.com) 41/56 .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. common in almost all new Mul-T-Lock cylinders. Interestingly enough. Briefly.8). From there. Once high enough. Figure 8. allowing all outer pins to be easily picked via overlifting.
We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element. especially now that the patent has expired. Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. In my experience. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. and a properly cut bump key all play a role.” While I understand Mul-T-Lock's apprehension about admitting they have a (potential) problem. The universal Mul-T-Lock bump key seems to be elusive. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). but it is possible. is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders.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. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. however. timing.com) 42/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar. While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. if unavailable directly. The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10. we consider the MT5/MT5+. is almost certainly not bump-able. In short. With the Alpha spring in a static position and shape. Finally. I don't agree that every video is a hoax. but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. If we agree that the Classic and Interactive can be bumped then I see no reason that the MT5 (without sidebar) couldn't also be bumped. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. as they are assembled in our factories and distributed throughout our network of authorized professional dealers are not susceptible to this type of attack. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. this is still disputed. force. This isn't too hard for the Classic. The MT5+. All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. This leaves the Black (B). but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. In any event. This may be challenging. 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. As we discussed. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does. Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate. I can't point out real versus fake. which is surprisingly hard to find. personally.
preventing it from separating at the shear line. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping. 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. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin. not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys.9). one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. for key bumping resistance. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense. Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist bumping.Moshe Dolev. but this is not terribly accurate. most bumping attacks put tension on the cylinder only after it has been struck with a bump hammer. Regardless. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. Mul-T-Lock chose to implement a pin type they refer to as the “Split-D” pin (Figure 8. At the moment I feel that the Classic. Figure 8.com) 43/56 . The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. holds a variety of patents for bump-resistant pin-tumbler designs. Each fit into one another. and claims to prevent bumping attacks. but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins. Of these. Interactive. While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped.
With these. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay.5 mm high. It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques.Impressioning Impressioning is a covert entry technique used to open and make a working key for a lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. If you look at a Classic key. wax. With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. As we discussed in previous sections.10). and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins.com) 44/56 . It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. Due to the telescoping pins we would need to make outer cuts without touching the inner area. In a normal pin-tumbler. Manipulation-based impressioning uses a blank key to gather information from the lock itself. or silicon. we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. This technique could still be used (against all models. made out of brass.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool. Figure 8. we know where to file to produce a working key. There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation. With a telescoping system (and a dimple key) this is problematic. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. to say the least. With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins. this is most effective against the Classic. 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 is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand. In both cases it is time consuming. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard.
With extremely low pins it is helpful to file at an angle to prevent the tool from breaking easily (a common dimple impressioning trick). but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually.12). The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates. the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts.47 mm of material on the tool. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. of course. Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. viewed under UV light. Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins. Additionally. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Early attempts to make impressions were successful. With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are.11: Impressioning marks on the tool. Figure 8. Aside from the ability to clearly see marks with UV ink.The tool is inserted between the bitting wards and a separate tension tool is used. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming. I moved to a UV-based system.12: Tool after the first round of filing. In addition to inner and outer pins. 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. You could continue impressioning. large inner pins leave as little as 0.11). Figure 8.com) 45/56 .
Mul-T-Lock does not use any bitting codes on factory original keys that could be used to decode them. Decoding is somewhat ambiguous.” What this means for Mul-T-Lock specifically is unclear. I believe it is just a traditional dimple pick set and a standard lever type decoder. More information on these vulnerabilities will be added when it is made available. lead.Pressure-responsive impressioning may also be possible. With the H&M picking tool. “some may be harder to pick and decode than others. in general. Classic and Interactive key cards use direct codes. Given the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ is used in various government and high-security installations (namely airports). so it is hard to pin down exactly what decoding techniques the Mul-T-Lock may be vulnerable to. At this time I have not seen a Mul-T-Lock impressioned this way. including the full keyway profile (See Appendix A). but the associated key cards so. I believe this is a progressive key system but I have not been able to get a better description or see one in person. Many modern dimple locks are vulnerable to this type of attack. Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis reported they found various mechanical and electronic vulnerabilities in the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. but the telescoping pins are again a problem. A mold taken of any Mul-T-Lock key could be decoded to determine the bitting and sidebar patterns for the lock. Falle-Safe offers an impressioning tool for Mul-T-Lock systems. It would be neat if the tool came like this. marks could be made to decode the lock while it is being picked. or soft wood) to quickly impression the lock. Falle-Safe offers a picking and decoding system they claim work with Mul-T-Lock systems. At the time of writing this. but ultimately it is not hard to do by hand. 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. 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 it seems plausible. With the information gained from decoding a working key can be made by hand or with a key cutting machine. the Tobias boys are practicing responsible disclosure in order to make sure all the major players are prepared if/when they release vulnerability information.com) 46/56 . Electronic Attacks (CLIQ & SynerKey) CLIQ security is currently a hot topic. I have not had access this system in person so I cannot comment further. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. malleable material (such as foil. With this technique we use a soft. In the tool's description Mul-T-Lock is grouped in a category with other locks and it basically says.
the MT5+ is Mul-T-Lock's best cylinder to date. in some cases) will do an adequate job of providing protection. datagram. The choice of lock will depend on the type of installation and the security required. they all use the same basic locking principles.9. they are still effective in providing security to the majority of installations.com) 47/56 . and locksport visit http://www. Summer 2009 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Be sure to keep reading further for various appendices that you might find interesting and useful. offering a solid defense against various destructive and non-destructive entry methods. Thank you for reading. In most low to medium security installations the Mul-T-Lock Interactive (and even Classic.lockpickingforensics. In my opinion the normal MT5 is not much of an improvement over the Interactive model. While they provide increasing resistance to attack over the years. 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. best known for their telescoping “pin-inpin” systems. The addition of the sidebar is a dramatic improvement over previous models. and impressioning resistance. it just moves the floating component to the back of the lock and adds a sixth pin-stack. Aside from the CLIQ. offering high pick. While older models are not without problems. but all samples I have seen or examined place the Alpha spring in the sixth pin chamber and don't appear to have alternate bitting styles. I hope you learned from and enjoyed this paper! For more articles on locks. particularly the MT5+. Conclusion Mul-T-Lock is a world leader in locking technology. can provide security even in high security situations. even the newer MT5 models. forensic locksmithing. Newer models.com. safes. bump. We went over the various Mul-T-Lock models and learned how each works.
square plastic (Blue) Interactive. square plastic (Black) Classic. Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ. moving element position.Appendix A: Keying Specifications Key Bows Mul-T-Lock keys follow a simple key coloring and coding convention to identify the lock model.com) . 3-in-1 Classic keys may instead use a black square plastic bow with colored inserts. yellow. round plastic Interactive. The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. nickel silver MT5/MT5+. nickel silver Classic/Interactive. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. or red bow. keyway profile. and moving element type (where applicable). oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green.
Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ. Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY. Key codes can be found on the blade. just below the bow of the key. 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. Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code.com) 49/56 . Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. if necessary. Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element).
45 mm Inner 4.65 mm Applicable to Classic.75 mm 5.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available. Interactive CLIQ.97 mm 0.75 mm 7.20 mm 5. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.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 2.40 mm 1.25 mm 5. both pins equal Concave.25 mm 6. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.45 mm 0.75 mm 6.com) 50/56 .25 mm Pin Length Outer 4. inner pin higher Flat.45 mm 0.95 mm 0.50 mm 1.95 mm 1.00 mm 0.65 mm 6.15 mm 6.65 mm 5. Interactive.50 mm 1.00 mm 1.
Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.com) 51/56 . Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. MT5/MT5+ Alpha Spring Specifications Currently not available.MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.
Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE]. square and lightly rounded) T “Heavy duty” (silver.Appendix B: Padlock Naming Conventions Mul-T-Lock padlock model numbers follow the format of WXXYZZ. 44 mm in horizontal length. Y may expand to YY if the 'C' option is used (such as xC. YZZ is sometimes omitted when browsing online stores or locksmith catalogs. sliding bolt. 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. Some E series padlocks may also be sliding bolt. your choice of popping or removable shackle. Sometimes ZZ and Y are swapped.com) . and with a shrouded/protected shackle. rectangular or square) E “Extra-high duty” (black/silver with a colored strip at the bottom) G “Medium duty” (silver. the G44P defines a G series padlock. A C13xCx defines a C series padlock with 13 mm of shackle clearance. varieties in shackle size. PC). look at the table for clarification. 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. Notes • • • • • • ZZ is frequently shortened to Z. and nonshrouded. it is not restricted to the T series. round body. W Padlock series: C “Heavy duty” (silver. 52/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
593. E series low shroud 2000.393. Classic key blank 1991. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there.876 Padlock 7. Interactive cylinder 1998. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990. Classic cylinder 1990. E series shrouded padlock 2000.839.389 Cylinder lock 4. or keys. Classic key blank 1993. too.267. Classic key blank 1992. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990. E series high shroud 1998. Classic key blank 1993.com) .259 Pick resistant lock 10.086. all of which are interesting. E series padlock (body only) 1998.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5. shrouded (body only) 1998. E series padlock (body only) 1998.331.309 Cylinder lock 5.520. Classic cylinder 1987. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005. key machines.035 Locking apparatus 5. bolts and latches. Interactive cylinder 1996. padlocks. Classic key blank 1994. Some other patents are excluded.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977. Cylinder guard shield. E series padlock.784.268 Cylinder lock 5. Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.307 Gear shift lock 5.910 Locking apparatus 5. and automotive patents. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998. 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.856. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990.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.142. Gear shift lock 1991.123.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
998. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996.509. Interactive cylinder 1994. Interactive key bows 1994. D Padlock 99.705. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997. Classic cylinder 1989. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999. D Lock housing 122. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.754.211. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992.362.034. D Anti-theft apparatus 150.351.159. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995. D Cylinder lock 103.701. D Padlock 129.563.954. D Padlock 62. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document. Classic cylinder 1990. D Pick resistant lock 1996.696. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992.808. D Cylinder lock 59.323. D Cylinder lock 119. D Tamper resistant lock 102. D Cylinder lock guard 96.” Some have interesting titles. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982. D Pin-tumbler lock 90.982. Interactive cylinder 1994. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996.607 Key for cylinder locks 80. D Padlock assembly 104. (Cool patent) 118. D Cylinder lock guard 99. Classic cylinder 1980. D Key head 109. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. C series padlock 1981. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings. D Door lock 110.623. Patent # Title Description 1976.095. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase.com) . D Covering arrangement 67. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986.153.984. D Anti-tampering lock 117.606. Cylinder guard shield.263. D Locking apparatus 109.349. D Cylinder lock 92.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files. D Padlock 102. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992.041. Cylinder guard shield 1991. D Locking device 83. D Locking system 116. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins.
467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.365 1.022.383 Cylinder lock 5. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1.653.750 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.070 Lock 2.501 Tumbler lock 2. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.304 Description 1897. I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.818.222. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917.244.722 Cylinder lock 4.760. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4.500 Lock 2.158.436 917. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935. immune) 1973. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping.869.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593.894.856 1987. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997.” but these are usually slider based.095. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.996.889 Tumbler mechanism 3. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.com) 55/56 . Odd dimple lock.
com/index.crypto. Security Analysis) is available at: http://mul-t-lockusa.php/Lockpicking http://www. Marc Weber Tobias.com/photos/misc/mul-t-lock/. Deviant Ollam.toool.lockwiki. locksmithing. Thanks for reading! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. These pages in particular might interest you: • • • • • http://www.com/index. DOM. Thanks Many people helped make this paper a reality.asp?newsid=58 If you'd like more information on the locking systems and attack techniques discussed. In no particular order: Jon King (JK_the_Cjer).php/Security_Ratings http://www.php/Bumping http://www. visit his portfolio at http://www. His page was helpful in understanding how to explain high security locks without making everything too complicated. and promotional material.lockwiki.Credits. Babak Javadi.php/Pin_tumbler While not in the scope of Mul-T-Lock systems. Tobias Bluzmanis. visit LockWiki.lockwiki. Eric Schmiedl. too. Matt Blaze has an excellent introduction to Mul-T-Lock Classic cylinders on his website: http://www.com/index. Eric is a great photographer (and lock picker!). stderr. buttes. and forensic locksmithing.com/index. scorche.lockwiki. but if you are Mul-T-Lock and you are unhappy about me using these please let me know and I will remove them. Much thanks to Eric Schmiedl for letting me use his fantastic CLIQ photos for Section 5. If you liked reading this paper you'll enjoy many of those sites. The full text of Mul-T-Lock's key bumping press release (discussed in Section 8. His articles on various high security locks can be found on TOOOL NL's website: http://www.com. A few pictures were used from Mul-T-Lock's site(s).ericschmiedl.com. I considered these to be “fair use” under United States law.nl. Han Fey's work with ASSA. Abloy. be sure to visit the Links page for a list of sites related to locksport.com/index. 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. and last but not least.com/newsdetails.php/Mul_T_Lock http://www. press releases.lockwiki.com) 56/56 .
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