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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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Security Analysis. most companies stick with one. including: spooled. serrated.7: Spooled. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack. mushroom. but only partially.com) 6/56 . Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. Figure 3. This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack.Figure 3. Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin. and mushroom top pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs. and serrated (Figure 3.6). and inner spring (Figure 3. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance.7). inner pin.7.” discussed further in Section 8. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems.
meaning further insertion is prevented by the tip of the key contacting the cam (back) of the lock. keyway 006C. this only defends against casual duplication. Notice the concentric cuts used to position each telescoping pin. especially due to the horizontal orientation of the dimple key. When used in a 4 pin lock. Cuts are a combination of two concentric rings. These are somewhat rare. a skilled machinist could easily reproduce a Classic key. the first four cuts manipulate tumblers and the fifth is unused. whether they be for a 4 or 5 pin lock.Figure 3. Of course. All Classic keys are tip stopped.com) 7/56 . This provides increased key security because handmade keys are difficult to make.8). Keying Specifications Unlike traditional pin-tumblers. Classic keys are also “convenience” keys because either side can be used for proper operation. can be bitted for 5 pins.8: Bitting of a Mul-T-Lock Classic key. there are some that use a shorter key (cuts are still properly spaced). a specially cut key allows telescoping pins to be raised to different heights. and I have only run across a couple in the dozens of Classic keys I own or have had access to. Though the majority of Classic keys are sized alike. one each for inner and outer pins (Figure 3. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. This is interesting because it means that all Classic keys.
857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175).com) 8/56 . with D being the largest. but is still fairly accurate. With a C outer pin. The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns. Warding on the blade is the most common. and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade. and so on. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3.10). master keying.419.9). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins.11). as well as off-center warding (Figure 3. with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3.9: Classic bottom pins (all). and a total of 1. All of this put together allows 17 combinations of inner/outer pin per chamber. There are five depths available for inner pins. Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key. There are four depths available for outer pins. but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. with 5 being the largest (Figure 3. Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade.13). Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). the inner pin must be 3 or higher. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all. There are other variations which use multiple wards. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock. designated A-D.12).Figure 3. The 06 keyway is the most common. but instead use side warding. designated 1-5. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins.14). Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
Figure 3.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade. by far the most common Classic key profile.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding.14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns. Figure 3.com) 9/56 .10 (Left): The 006C. Figure 3.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.Figure 3. Figure 3.
but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total.1). The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow.com) 10/56 .15: Classic key bow styles.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it.15). The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3.16). The last (right) is shared with the Interactive. keys may be bitted on either side of the key. Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding. Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools.16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. two of which are unique (Figure 3. which we'll discuss in Section 8. Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down. but key bows are available in ten different colors. Figure 3. Figure 3. Security Analysis.
Security Analysis. near the second and third pin chamber. More on what UL certification means in Section 8. Figure 3. are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3.17). The other components used. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder. Figure 3.17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug. The UL version provides better resistance to attack. in both the UL and non-UL cylinders.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry. One is normal. above the plug (Figure 3. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components.18). above and below the keyway. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”).19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. Figure 3. Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug.com) 11/56 . overall. Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. above the keyway and steel rods.19).
various companies now produce knockoff versions of Classic cylinders and key blanks.Classic Clones Since the patent expired on Classic cylinders and keys. Conclusion The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock. the Classic has since been superseded by newer models. the quality of most of these knock-offs is poor. 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. the MulT-Lock Interactive. In the next section we'll look at the second generation of Mul-T-Lock telescoping locks. While they provide a similar telescoping pin system. Many of the principles of the Classic are used in other models. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Of course.com) 12/56 . Now that the patent has expired most dealers have began promoting the Interactive instead. including those of the present day. Most do not have manufacturing tolerances as high as a legitimate Mul-T-Lock and usually do not include security pins or the antiforced entry inserts. but you can still get the Classic from many online vendors and local locksmiths.
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. the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication. The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways. various warding styles are used. 206 Keyway Figure 4. All keys are tip stopped by the cam. At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs. Figure 4. but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. impressioning.com) 13/56 . and serrated top pins are again the most popular.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. When compared with the Classic. key bumping.4. and visual decoding. anti-forced entry components are the same. and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. overall. The pin tip raises the moving element on the key.com) 14/56 .3). Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8.2).4). The moving element in the lock may be in the first or second pin chamber.3: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions.bitting may be in either orientation. to the correct position (Figure 4.4: The Interactive moving element can be in the first or second pin position. with the moving element on the key in the same position (Figure 4. and thus the pins. Figure 4. having the moving element in the second chamber is better. In my opinion. Figure 4. The main difference is the chamber with the moving element. 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. In that chamber. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element. In four pin models. Security Analysis.
Silver. right in a Right-Up or Right-Down lock. Bitting for side pins is on the side of the blade and corresponding cuts are located in the plug and cylinder (Figure 4. Figure 4.6). which defines how inner and outer pins are raised: Color Gold Silver Black Code Type/Description G S B Convex. four in a four tumbler lock.5: Left to right – Gold.6: A Mul-T-Lock Interactive Side Pin Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Side pins are always located on the same side as the pins. each raises the inner/outer pins differently (Figure 4. raises both pins equally Concave. Moving elements are classified by color.com) 15/56 . and left in a Left-Up or Left-Down lock.7). raises outer pin higher Pinning A-0 Z-0 Z-1 Figure 4. raises inner pin higher Flat.5). and five in a five tumbler lock. The number of side pins available is the same as the number of telescoping pin stacks.There are three types of moving element. Side Pins The Classic and Interactive can also use side pins (Figure 4. and Black moving elements. Side pins are an optional passive key profiling mechanism used to ensure the correct key is used.
but they are just a moving piece of metal. though a cast of the bitting may be used to decode the key. including the position and style of the moving element. for outer and inner pins.7 (Left): Side pin bitting on the side of an Interactive key.8: Interactive vs. Classic. respectively. At the same time. Keying Specifications The moving element makes the Interactive key visually distinct. Figure 4. machining blanks for the Interactive is much harder because placement and style of the moving element must be considered. This ability adds two additional pins to the Interactive.8). They are Z and 0 (zero). smallest pins The moving element also prevents the ability to directly cast and impression a key. Figure 4. Many people mistake these for magnets or some form of electronic component. Each is a cut smaller than the Classic's smallest pins (Figure 4. Similar bores are located in the cylinder to restrict plug rotation when an improper key is used.7 (Right): Side pins inserted into an Interactive plug. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. something a normal key cannot do.Figure 4. With this information we can produce a working key on a proper Interactive blank.com) 16/56 . The main advantage of the moving element is the ability to lift pin stacks higher than the top of the keyway.
though. down about 2/3 from the Classic. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. manufacturing. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. While there is limited side warding. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. in my opinion. Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack.9). regardless of the other cuts. with the G (Gold) moving element.10). This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. Figure 4. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position. Even if we did. wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4.The Interactive has downsides. Figure 4.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501. This is important because it implies the keyway profile of an Interactive lock cannot be casually observed without special tools to look deep into the keyway (which may be problematic because of the pins) or an analysis of the key. Like the Classic. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange. The difficulty in obtaining.com) 17/56 . 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. but side warding is limited due to side pins. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4. Security Analysis. More on this in Section 8. In spite of this. Regardless of the decrease. make the Interactive stronger. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position.126 (174 * 6). It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive.
Master Keying The Classic and Interactive models provide for complex master keying systems through the use of three types of traditional master pins (Figure 4.12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion. The external master (4. right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins.com) 18/56 . with 4 being the largest. and external master pins as 1 to 3. There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins.12. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014. with 3 being the largest. The first two are unique to the Interactive. center) and the internal master (4. two of which are unique (Figure 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The external and internal masters can be used individually. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins.12). I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4.12. The solid master (4. Figure 4.The Interactive uses three styles of key bow.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4.12.11). Figure 4.13).
XX is an even key cut. Each of the solid pins can be combined with solid master pins (4. I'll leave figuring out the math up to you :) In addition to the three traditional master pins. Again. Of course. X. Using the inner or outer master pins individually is trickier. The same goes for outer pins. and X+ is a concave key cut. For example. with any inner pin we add its value to the master pin. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.is a convex key cut. These shapes are similar to the floating pin styles.14).13: A Mul-T-Lock Classic/Interactive key gauge with 0/Z and master pins included.Figure 4.com) 19/56 . when using master pins we must consider the pinning rules when master keying locks. three types of solid bottom pins can be used. These each have their own pin codes based on what shape they are (Figure 4. but with a maximum of 4 (D). and if that number is higher than 5 it can't be used.12. left) for additional master keying requirements. because we need to consider the MACS between inner and outer pin stacks. This isn't too hard if we consider all pins to be numbered. all we need to do is run the numbers to make sure we're within our limits.
In the next two sections we'll discuss variations on the Interactive design. Why use solid bottom pins? They were implemented (as far as I know) as a standard part of master keying to defend against the Michaud attack. the inability to directly cast a key is important. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks. the CLIQ and 3-in-1. Again. The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5.com) 20/56 . but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange. Of course. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Security Analysis. Of those. one that makes many techniques. The Michaud attack is discussed in-depth in Section 8. especially bumping. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins. Conclusion The Mul-T-Lock Interactive is in many ways an improvement over the Classic. using the solid master pins drastically reduces the number of available key differs for a given lock. more can be added with solid master pins.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying.Figure 4. offering a variety of additional and improved security features. more difficult.
com) 21/56 . we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Figure 5.1).5. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines. the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5.2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics. Figure 5. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec.ericschmiedl. Introduced in 2004. When disassembled. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks.2). 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.com). Euro profile. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors. The mechanical portions of the key and lock are mostly the same as the Interactive so we'll skip discussion of them. 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.
a large portion of the plug has been replaced with electronic components to power the CLIQ (Figure 5. Note the lack of bitting cuts.4). but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log. Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5. Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys. At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.3).5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown.5). 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 .3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed. Figure 5. Figure 5. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.4 (Left): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ plug with the electronics shown.Figure 5. Inside the lock.
the plug generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge.) The sidebar is rather untraditional.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. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned. and in shape it's more like a large side pin. Of course. Security Analysis. I don't have more detail on this process. The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug. If the numbers match. A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8. If not. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock.000 attempts). In either case. the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock. Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. Electronic Communication When a small contact on the side of the key (visible in Figure 5.Figure 5. Management of CLIQ authentication tokens is provided by Mul-T-Lock through a variety of software packages and the reprogramming keys. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5.6) contacts the inside of the lock. At the same time. Unfortunately. The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls.” Once awake. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1.6). but instead are powered by inserting the key. (Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal. The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own. it will blink red. master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green.
At the time of writing this the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is considerably more expensive than almost all other Mul-T-Lock models. The SynerKey may be an effective alternative for small to medium sized installations. Security Analysis.SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey. Figure 5. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. Please contact me if you can answer this. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.8). with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD. it is currently unclear whether or not the 2014 patent expiration date for the Interactive will affect the ability to obtain CLIQ blanks. While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key. More on this in Section 8. but they do have their own special key bow. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ. I would guess this isn't the case.8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models.7). The SynerCLIQ can be identified because the key bow has a distinct logo when compared to normal CLIQ keys (Figure 5. These are not CLIQ locks. or at least those without an electronic component. Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws. While it provides a high level of security. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models. but I'm not sure.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5.com) 24/56 . it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations.
All other pins in the lock are standard. Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems.6. some of the inner top pins have a modified design. except it uses a break-away component on inner pin stacks instead of a free-floating ball bearing. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work.com) 25/56 . with modified inner pins and construction keying bores. acting like a master pin.2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6. It allows the user to progressively re-key the lock up to three times given a set of pre-supplied keys. When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. Unlike the CLIQ. construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber. but their internals are the same. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so. Figure 6. Second. When removed from the pin stacks.1). This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. 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 6.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug. which uses the same Interactive components. In a traditional construction keying system. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1.2). First. Figure 6. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle. At this point. When the plug is rotated.
removing it completely from the pin stack (Figure 6. they are green.4 (Left): The yellow key raises the inner pin's ball above the shear line. This raises one of the construction balls above the shear line (Figure 6. and red (Figure 6. At this point only the yellow key can operate the lock. Figure 6.1). only the green keys work. yellow.Figure 6. From lowest to highest. When it is time for the keys to change.3: The 3-in-1 system uses a color progression to signify access levels. When the lock is brand new.3). Rotating the plug allows the ball to fall into the bore on the plug.5 (Right): Use of the key breaks the ball and drops it into the plug bore.4). Each key color represents a level of access in the 3-in-1 system. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. creating a new shear line.5). Figure 6. the yellow key is inserted. The yellow key is then forcibly rotated and the ball snaps off.com) 26/56 . The 3-in-1 comes with three different color keys. 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.
In the Classic 3-in-1.com) 27/56 . At this point.6). Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red.7). 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.7 (Right): Use of the key breaks the balls and drops it into the plug bore. we snap off the remaining balls with rotation of the key and they are deposited into the plug bores (Figure 6. it will raise the other ball above the shear line. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 6. the red key is inserted. Being normal Interactive keys. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. The same logic applies. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. only the red key will operate the lock.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key. Again. The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way. Figure 6. In either case. 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. The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6. 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs. the MT5 and MT5+. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems.
Alpha chamber (far left). the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring. but the MT5 model is essentially the same thing without the sidebar. This section will focus on the MT5+. Figure 7. dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. It is a high-security cylinder that offers additional key control and resistance to compromise when compared to previous Mul-T-Lock models. In my experience. showing five telescoping pin pairs. and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing.7. when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+.1: The MT5+.2: The MT5/MT5+ plug. Mul-T-Lock MT5/MT5+ The newest Mul-T-Lock design is the MT5. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system. Introduced in 2007. anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs.com) 28/56 . 05 keyway Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
discussed a little later. Please contact me if you can confirm this! Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. Like the Interactive. Pins in this chamber are not telescoping and are quite unique (Figure 7. Alpha Spring The Alpha spring sits near the tip of the key (Figure 7. The pin it raises is rather unique. the plug walls push the Alpha spring up to raise the pin in the Alpha chamber (Figure 7. causing variations in the Alpha chamber. the new moving element. away from the bitting area.The primary locking components in the MT5 are still a set of five telescoping pin-tumblers (Figure 7.6). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Looking at the key. slightly different design than older models. The sixth chamber is used for the Alpha spring. but all samples I have access to are the same.4 (Right): Top and bottom pins of the Alpha spring chamber (chamber six).com) 29/56 . we notice the Alpha spring sits in the center of the key. The chamber used to hold the Alpha pin stack is also unique as it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin (Figure 7. Figure 7.2). it is not a telescoping but instead a traditional top pin with a very unusual bottom pin. It is unclear if the MT5/MT5+ use different size springs. the Alpha spring prevents the ability to directly cast a working key. currently. Instead. Figure 7.3 (Left): MT5/MT5+ bottom pins. the plug walls pinch the Alpha spring into the key.7). This is strange given the Interactives variety. First. a cast of the bitting cuts may be used to decode the key and produce a working key.3). which share most pins.4). The sixth pin chamber is used for the Alpha spring. While the key is inserted. Unlike the Classic and Interactive. Top pins look the same as they did in the older models and serrated are again the security pins of choice.5) and is used to interact with a sixth pintumbler pair. It doesn't seem like this is the case. the MT5 pins look a bit different (Figure 7. When the key is fully inserted.
7: The Alpha chamber is not drilled like a traditional pin chamber.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key.com) 30/56 . Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Instead. it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin. Figure 7.Figure 7.6 (Right): The Alpha spring component (cutaway key) is raised by the plug walls.
Figure 7.9 (Right): The MT5+ sidebar is located on the bottom of the plug. as any available key blank can be used to create a working key. Five freefloating sliders interact with the sidebar through the use of small notches. Many sidebar systems became problematic when distribution of sidebar codes was an afterthought.8). MT5+ Sidebar MT5+ models have one major improvement over the MT5. Note the anti-picking false notches. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. The MT5+ does not have this problem. The top (left) interfaces with a laser track on the key.10: MT5+ slider. Actuated by five free-floating sliders. the use of a sidebar (Figure 7. If all sidebars have the same code.10).9). The sidebar is made of nickel-silver and is positioned at the bottom of the plug (Figure 7. there is basically no point in having it.Figure 7. and the bottom (right) interfaces with the sidebar.com) 31/56 . Picking resistance is provided with false notches (Figure 7.8 (Left): The MT5+ sidebar. Figure 7.
out of the five sliders two define a locksmith region and the other three are variable.12).11: Inside view of the plug. When all sliders are properly aligned the sidebar can fall into their true notches and plug rotation is no longer restricted (Figure 7.com) 32/56 . sliders are positioned horizontally. the sidebar can now be retracted and plug rotated. This is an adequate method of distributing keys with unique sidebars but also allows locksmiths to make working keys for customers. located underneath and in-between telescoping pin-tumbler stacks (Figure 7. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. When viewed in the plug. Figure 7. Figure 7. I am unsure how large a “locksmith region” is.11). showing arrangement of telescoping pins and sliders. Please contact me if you can help answer this.12: MT5+ sliders properly aligned.
If you have this information please contact me. Though both use the traditional telescoping pin cuts. such as those in the Scorpion CX-5 and the EVVA 3KS. I currently do not have any depth or coding information for the MT5/MT5+ pins or sliders. the MT5/MT5+ can be bitted in various orientations. Contact details are available in the introduction to this paper. Alpha spring. Five telescoping pins are raised and the Alpha spring raises the pins in the Alpha chamber. The MT5+ key is quite different due to the use of the sidebar (Figure 7.com) 33/56 . the MT5+ uses a laser track cut for the sidebar pins. Like previous models.Figure 7.13). The most interesting aspect of the MT5+ is that it uses both the top and bottom of the blade. MT5/MT5+ keys cannot have warding Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Like the restrictions for the Interactive's moving element. This is similar to other laser track sidebars. almost the same as the Interactive. Warding on the keys for both MT5 and MT5+ are also somewhat unique when compared to other Mul-T-Lock models. and laser track sidebar.13: The MT5+ key with telescoping bitting. The top is used for the telescoping pins and bottom is used for the sidebar pins. Keying Specifications The normal MT5 key works much like a traditional Mul-T-Lock key.
warding can be on the laser track. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up.15). In the case of the MT5+.com) 34/56 .15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above). Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable. In addition. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. In the MT5+. Figure 7.14). but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track. the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques. As you can see. Figure 7. The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models.
Of course. The Alpha spring is interesting. The regular MT5 has a high number of key differs. but lack of sidebar makes this a bit dubious.com) 35/56 . The MT5/MT5+ is somewhat hard to find. If you're planning on upgrading. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In the case of the MT5+. a wide variety of key differs is available between sidebar. but I don't consider it too different from the Interactive. you can always contact your local Mul-T-Lock dealer to see if they have any special connections and whatnot. but is available to large installations (I'm assuming you would have to contact Mul-T-Lock or work through one of their dealers). but is available from a select few online vendors. The seemingly static position and size of the Alpha spring pins is a little strange. The MT5 is not available in the USA outside of second-hand channels. The MT5 is an interesting change. In the next section we'll discuss various attacks against each generation of Mul-T-Lock model. That's it for the discussion of Mul-T-Lock models. but it operates on the same principles as the Interactive moving element. Key control is quite high considering the Alpha spring. I'd recommend going straight to the MT5+. The MT5+ is currently not available to USA dealers. as well as design upgrades and varieties provided by Mul-T-Lock to resist each attack. the MT5+ is the best Mul-T-Lock cylinder to date. USA dealers are supposed to have access to the MT5+ by 2011.Conclusion From a purely mechanical standpoint. but with the lock being so new Mul-T-Lock has plenty of time to upgrade the design. telescoping pins. and warding styles. It offers a wide variety of protections against both destructive and non-destructive entry techniques.
many non-destructive compromise techniques are much harder to do. Due to the cross-over of most of the Mul-T-Lock models I'm going to categorize by attack rather than lock model. From a security standpoint. Having a security rating does not imply that the lock is “high-security”. For a free listing and descriptions of these ratings. Security Analysis Functionally. For example. Unfortunately. a telescoping system is similar to traditional pin-tumblers. they are responsible for many improvements to telescoping systems and dimple locks. as well as many others used around the world. If you have any correction or additions please contact me! Contact information is available at the start of this paper. This has been a source of confusion lately. American National Standards Institute (ANSI). and SecuPlus (SKG). All security ratings are given in time rather than absolutes. please see http://www. so this section is one that I could use much help on.8. Though Mul-TLock is not the first or only company to provide telescoping pin-tumblers. Their UL 437 certification is probably the most notable. A security rating is a way for consumers to know what level of security to expect from a lock. and how Mul-T-Lock models have evolved to deal with these problems. Unfortunately.com/index. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. vulnerabilities that may exist or previously existed. and forced entry for 15 minutes.com) 36/56 . Vertrauen durch Sicherheit (VDS). Security Ratings All Mul-T-Lock telescoping lock models have earned one or more security ratings. In the same way that beef can be rated Grade “A” by the USDA. just that it passed whatever tests the specific rating requires. in general.php/Security_Ratings. Many people associate UL 437 with “high-security.lockwiki. for example. Mul-T-Lock models have received ratings from Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). In each section we'll go over how different models stack up against an attack. European Committee for Standardization (CEN). This section will evaluate the strength of Mul-T-Lock systems against a variety of common attacks. a popular lock security rating from Underwriter's Laboratories. it is just a “high-er” security standard. a lock may be rated to resist lockpicking for at least 10 minutes. I don't know every trick in the book. especially when we consider UL 437. locks have grades which define which attacks they resist and for how long. the exact wording of many standards are not publicly available and are quite expensive to obtain (UL 437. The Hercular deadbolt series also have ANSI Grade 1 locking mechanisms. is currently $490 USD). As Marc Tobias likes to say.” but there is really nothing that makes this so.
make a pulling screw that is effective against a variety of MulT-Lock cylinders. What this means is that we can pick the lock first by attacking the outer pins then the inner pins.Forced Entry Resistance to forced or destructive entry is the primary concern of all locking systems. It works by being screwed into the keyway. lockpicking is probably the most well known and respected skill an attacker can have.” While key bumping has made headlines recently. then extreme pulling force is applied to pull the lock out of it's mounting. Resistance to lockpicking tools and techniques has been increasingly important since the early 1800s. Think of it this way: inner pins cannot separate at the shear line before outer pins. Like this.1: A Mul-T-Lock Classic fully picked Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Forced entry is by far the most common method of entry. Mul-T-Lock systems use a variety of mechanisms to prevent forced entry. a Czech company. Wendt. All five pin Mul-T-Lock systems have a total of 10 pin pairs when we consider inner and outer pins.com) 37/56 . lockpicking is still the most tried and true way of opening almost any lock in the world given the correct tools and. more importantly. but encourage them to put up a new video which includes assembly of the lock (to verify all components are present). in truth the Mul-T-Lock is two five pin locks in one. a locksmith tool company. While a ten pin lock sounds challenging. skill. In modern day. Lockpicking – Classic & Interactive In terms of covert entry techniques. Figure 8. but some tools and techniques can be used to quickly compromise the older Mul-T-Lock Classic and Interactive systems. detailed in earlier sections. we can't confirm that it actually took one minute. a lock's security is highly based on whether or not it can resist lockpicking. Multipick Service. and to not splice the clips together. but they make the fatal error of splicing cuts rather than keeping the film running. They have a video of this on their website. only that the clock at the top says so. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. offers a drill bit that claims to go through an entire Mul-TLock cylinder in about a minute. The outer pins being at the shear line is mostly independent of the position of inner pins. sometimes generalized as “manipulation. and if successful it is often the fastest and cheapest way to defeat a locking system.
The Souber dimple pick set is also effective against Mul-T-Lock systems. How do we know when to pick the inner pins? When the outer pins are picked the cylinder rotates slightly. this should be a much simpler task than ordinary lock picking. Picking of the inner pins is actually quite easy.Matt Blaze. Both sets resemble traditional dimple lockpicking tools with pointed tips. The main problem with traditional picks. but is not designed or marketed specifically for this purpose. and. the inner pins can apparently be set in any order (or simultaneously). sets are usually traditional dimple picks with slight modifications. Again.2). From here. because of the angle at which the inner upper pins are trapped. When this happens it takes a considerable amount of fiddling to get the pick out. and those sold by the companies listed above.” . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. for the most part. more so than the false set of a security pin (Figure 8.Figure 8. the lock becomes a five pin dimple lock.com) Wendt produce two sets of Mul-T-Lock picks (#0702. Many times you'll end up having to release tension and start over. In particular. #0702-KPR). Traditional dimple or pin-tumbler picks can also be used but they take more skill to use. is that they can get stuck between the inner and outer pins.crypto. Matt Blaze's site reiterates this quite nicely: “However.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic in the normal (left) and partially picked (right) positions.com) 38/56 . the attacker can move to the inner pins. “Notes on Mul-T-Lock Locks” (www. they all bind at once and over-setting is prevented by the severe angle at which the upper pins are held. Multipick Service also sell various Mul-TLock picks.
The Mul-T-Lock picking tool that has gained the most popularity is produced by a Chinese company called H&M Tools. The tool is calibrated precisely so that it lifts pin stacks only when it is directly beneath them.3 (Left): The H&M Mul-T-Lock picking tool (Right-Up).5 (Bottom right): Close-up of the tool's pin channels. Because it only lifts when directly under pin stacks there is no guesswork with where the pick is. Shop around! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 8. The tool is inserted on the farthest ward in the plug and is tip-stopped by the cam of the lock.4) and is rotated with the large knob at the end of the tool.3). Notice that the second chamber is slightly longer to account for Interactive cylinders. Figure 8. the H&M tool does not get stuck between telescoping pins. and how high up you are raising it. Many companies sell the H&M tool. In addition. the tool works in both four and five pin locks without needing to be re-calibrated. prices range from $75 USD to $600 (!) USD. 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 8.5). Tension is applied through a bar that can be placed on either side of the tool. Being tip-stopped. The pick itself sits on a ledge of the tool (Figure 8.Figure 8. It does so through the use of small channels that indicate which pin stack you are working on (Figure 8. It is extremely effective in picking Classic and Interactive cylinders (compared to traditional tools).4 (Top right): Close-up of the ward track and pick tip.com) 39/56 .
Whether or not it can be picked fast enough to defy security ratings is another matter. tension can be completely released and sliders will not move. the normal MT5 is an upgraded Interactive cylinder. Figure 8. used to frustrate lockpicking. Some pins with counter milling also have a serration on the bottom of the outer pin. inner top pins can also be lightly spooled. the position of the sidebar has an interesting effect on picking. In addition to these. horizontal to the ground. My guess would be as a crude overlifting defense. Because the sliders are placed in between pin stacks. On their own they offer a minimal defense. Contact me if you can offer any insight! Figure 8. Lockpicking – MT5/MT5+ As far as I know. In essence. the time required to pick the sidebar may be excessive. 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. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.6 (Left): An outer bottom pin with counter-milling. so it should not be much harder to pick. In short: when picking the MT5+. Of course. Unlike other laser track locks (see: EVVA 3KS. While this doesn't make the sidebar a breeze to pick it is still important. In the case of the MT5+. gravity does not affect the position of MT5+ sliders.In order to combat lockpicking attacks Mul-T-Lock has devised a variety of improvements to their locks. Being located on the bottom of the plug. but I'm not completely sure why (Figure 8. The H&M tool does not work because of the change in warding and the position of the Alpha spring. but a moderate to highly skilled attacker should have no problem with these. and depends on the sensitivity of the installation. but I haven't been able to confirm this. there are currently no ready-made picking tools for the MT5/MT5+ cylinders. Scorpion CX-5). they are difficult to manipulate without hitting the pins.com) 40/56 . but it is only a matter of time before something is developed. but there is no doubt in my mind that a highly skilled attacker could do it.7).6). When tension is placed on the cylinder the inner and outer pin serrations hook together to prevent picking. but are often combined with outer bottom pins that use counter milling (Figure 8. At this time I have not heard of anyone picking the MT5+.
Dubbed the “Michaud Attack. Briefly. From there. the cylinder could be rotated to trap all outer top pins above the shear line. but there are still decades of locks produced and installed that are vulnerable. picking the inner pins is fairly easy. this prevents the outer top pin from being raised to the top of the chamber through the use of the inner pins. Once high enough. Mul-T-Lock has since fixed this problem. 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. as discussed earlier. allowing all outer pins to be easily picked via overlifting.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's fixed their design by using the recommendation of Eric Michaud and Matt Blaze. Inside the lock. Interestingly enough.8). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 8.com) 41/56 . Master keying) also prevents the Michaud attack at the expense of pick-resistance and key differs.8: An anti-Michaud Attack top pin. inner pins could be raised and they would carry the outer pins. common in almost all new Mul-T-Lock cylinders.” he found that inner pin-pairs could be raised to lift the outer top pins. Use of solid bottom pins in master keyed systems (see Section 4.
The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. As we discussed.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.com) 42/56 . however. 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. is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. With the Alpha spring in a static position and shape. 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. but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult. Finally. if unavailable directly. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate. In my experience. I can't point out real versus fake. All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. In short.” While I understand Mul-T-Lock's apprehension about admitting they have a (potential) problem. This isn't too hard for the Classic. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does. and a properly cut bump key all play a role. but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. this is still disputed. as they are assembled in our factories and distributed throughout our network of authorized professional dealers are not susceptible to this type of attack. It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). we consider the MT5/MT5+. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. force. We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element. timing. In any event. I don't agree that every video is a hoax. is almost certainly not bump-able. The MT5+. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. personally. but it is possible. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. The universal Mul-T-Lock bump key seems to be elusive. which is surprisingly hard to find. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders. This may be challenging. especially now that the patent has expired. This leaves the Black (B).
9: Mul-T-Lock Split-D type outer bottom pin. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. not unlike the traditional outer/inner pins. but I don't fully agree with this for the same reasons as the mushroom pins.Moshe Dolev. and claims to prevent bumping attacks.9). and MT5 models without the Split-D components can be bumped. The MT5+ may not be bump-proof in the truest sense. for key bumping resistance. holds a variety of patents for bump-resistant pin-tumbler designs. one of the founders of Mul-T-Lock. but this is not terribly accurate.com) 43/56 . but I cannot comment on the universal nature of their bump keys. preventing it from separating at the shear line. Of these. The Split-D is a modified outer bottom pin that uses two parts. Regardless. most bumping attacks put tension on the cylinder only after it has been struck with a bump hammer. Some of the Mul-T-Lock press releases also claim that mushroom security pins protect against bumping. The logic is that kinetic energy is not transferred properly to the outer top pin. I have not had access to these for testing so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. While they protect against premature tension on the cylinder. Figure 8. but it is as close as most pin-tumbler locks can expect to get. Interactive. 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. Mul-T-Lock also note their interlocking (counter-milled) pins may resist 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. Each fit into one another.
With the mold we can casting a working key for the lock. wax. Rather than fabricating full Classic blanks I decided to make a small piece of brass that simulates only the actual bitting area (Figure 8. 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. It is surprisingly effective and easy to learn but how it affects Mul-T-Lock systems is unclear. Copy impressioning makes a direct copy of a key by making a mold or impression in a medium such as clay. you'll notice a small part of the key touches the pins. we bind a blank key against the components to make marks on the blank. made out of brass.5 mm high. This technique could still be used (against all models. Figure 8. Another major problem is making the actual impressioning cuts. and indeed almost every lock in existence) to decode the bitting and sidebar codes. Due to the telescoping pins we would need to make outer cuts without touching the inner area. Doing so without letting inner pins leave marks is hard. In a normal pin-tumbler. In both cases it is time consuming. There are two types of impressioning: copy and manipulation. I developed a method for impressioning Mul-T-Lock Classics using inexpensive materials and common hand tools.Impressioning Impressioning is a covert entry technique used to open and make a working key for a lock. In the same way outer pins need to be impressioned first. this is most effective against the Classic. As we discussed in previous sections. but the Interactive and MT5's moving elements defeat this technique. With these. sort of a hybrid of lockpicking and decoding techniques. to say the least.10: Mul-T-Lock impressioning tool. or silicon. This is fine for a skilled machinist but problematic to do by hand. we know where to file to produce a working key. If you look at a Classic key. With lockpicking we must pick outer pins then move to inner pins.com) 44/56 . It is just over 1 mm thick and ~2.10). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
the main advantage is making the impressioning cuts.com) 45/56 . Figure 8. In addition to inner and outer pins.47 mm of material on the tool. I moved to a UV-based system.11: Impressioning marks on the tool. Additionally. With the key in a nondimple arrangement it is much easier to file where marks are. Early attempts to make impressions were successful. Aside from the ability to clearly see marks with UV ink. With UV it is easy to find marks as well as identify what made each mark (Figure 8.The tool is inserted between the bitting wards and a separate tension tool is used. Avoiding the inner pins is easy because you can just file around them (Figure 8. but it takes much longer than picking the inner pins manually. but in a telescoping system the number of marks left is overwhelming.12: Tool after the first round of filing. the pin chambers also bind against the tool. viewed under UV light.12). You could continue impressioning. large inner pins leave as little as 0. This decreases the strength of the tool and may cause bending or breaking. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.11). Figure 8. With extremely low pins it is helpful to file at an angle to prevent the tool from breaking easily (a common dimple impressioning trick). This was troublesome because I wasn't sure where to file. The tool is removed once outer pins are impressioned and the cylinder rotates. Methods of obtaining marks are the same as traditional impressioning. Normal picks or the H&M tool are used to quickly pick the inner pins. of course.
At this time I have not seen a Mul-T-Lock impressioned this way. the Tobias boys are practicing responsible disclosure in order to make sure all the major players are prepared if/when they release vulnerability information. marks could be made to decode the lock while it is being picked. “some may be harder to pick and decode than others. but the associated key cards so. Many modern dimple locks are vulnerable to this type of attack. lead. 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.Pressure-responsive impressioning may also be possible. Falle-Safe offers a picking and decoding system they claim work with Mul-T-Lock systems. but it seems plausible.” What this means for Mul-T-Lock specifically is unclear. Decoding is somewhat ambiguous. including the full keyway profile (See Appendix A). In the tool's description Mul-T-Lock is grouped in a category with other locks and it basically says. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Falle-Safe offers an impressioning tool for Mul-T-Lock systems. Mul-T-Lock does not use any bitting codes on factory original keys that could be used to decode them. With the information gained from decoding a working key can be made by hand or with a key cutting machine. With this technique we use a soft. in general. At the time of writing this. malleable material (such as foil. specific vulnerability information is unavailable but I am told it is quite serious. Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis reported they found various mechanical and electronic vulnerabilities in the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Given the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ is used in various government and high-security installations (namely airports). Electronic Attacks (CLIQ & SynerKey) CLIQ security is currently a hot topic. Please contact me if you have more information! Contact details are available at the start of the paper. A mold taken of any Mul-T-Lock key could be decoded to determine the bitting and sidebar patterns for the lock. but ultimately it is not hard to do by hand. Classic and Interactive key cards use direct codes. It would be neat if the tool came like this. I believe this is a progressive key system but I have not been able to get a better description or see one in person. I have not had access this system in person so I cannot comment further. so it is hard to pin down exactly what decoding techniques the Mul-T-Lock may be vulnerable to. I believe it is just a traditional dimple pick set and a standard lever type decoder.com) 46/56 . With the H&M picking tool. but the telescoping pins are again a problem. or soft wood) to quickly impression the lock. More information on these vulnerabilities will be added when it is made available.
forensic locksmithing. The addition of the sidebar is a dramatic improvement over previous models. safes. While older models are not without problems. While they provide increasing resistance to attack over the years.com) 47/56 . I hope you learned from and enjoyed this paper! For more articles on locks. particularly the MT5+. Aside from the CLIQ. Newer models.lockpickingforensics. they all use the same basic locking principles. In most low to medium security installations the Mul-T-Lock Interactive (and even Classic. the MT5+ is Mul-T-Lock's best cylinder to date. datagram. bump. We went over the various Mul-T-Lock models and learned how each works. Summer 2009 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In my opinion the normal MT5 is not much of an improvement over the Interactive model. best known for their telescoping “pin-inpin” systems. in some cases) will do an adequate job of providing protection. The choice of lock will depend on the type of installation and the security required. even the newer MT5 models. and impressioning resistance. offering high pick. it just moves the floating component to the back of the lock and adds a sixth pin-stack. and locksport visit http://www. Be sure to keep reading further for various appendices that you might find interesting and useful. 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.9. Conclusion Mul-T-Lock is a world leader in locking technology.com. offering a solid defense against various destructive and non-destructive entry methods. they are still effective in providing security to the majority of installations. can provide security even in high security situations. 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. Thank you for reading.
round plastic Interactive. keyway profile. or red bow. nickel silver MT5/MT5+. oval plastic Interactive SynerCLIQ Interactive SynerKey Notes • • 3-in-1 Interactive keys are square plastic keys with a green. square plastic (Black) Classic. Below is a comparison of different Mul-T-Lock key bows: Classic. The shape and color of key bows can be used to quickly identify the model of the key. nickel silver Classic/Interactive. 48/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. yellow. square plastic (Black) Interactive CLIQ. moving element position. square plastic (Blue) Interactive. 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.com) . and moving element type (where applicable).
Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code. just below the bow of the key.com) 49/56 . if necessary. Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. Key codes can be found on the blade. 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. 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.Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ.
95 mm 0.com) 50/56 .50 mm 1.75 mm 5.45 mm 0.25 mm 5.95 mm 1.15 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) 2.75 mm 6.50 mm 1. inner pin higher Flat. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.00 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 4.25 mm 6.20 mm 5.75 mm 7.65 mm 6.45 mm Inner 4.65 mm Applicable to Classic.97 mm 0.45 mm 0. both pins equal Concave. 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 1.65 mm 5. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex.00 mm 0. Interactive.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available. Interactive CLIQ.
MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. MT5/MT5+ Alpha Spring Specifications Currently not available. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.com) 51/56 . MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.
Sometimes ZZ and Y are swapped. 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.com) . Some E series padlocks may also be sliding bolt. round body. and with a shrouded/protected shackle. look at the table for clarification. your choice of popping or removable shackle. YZZ is sometimes omitted when browsing online stores or locksmith catalogs. sliding bolt. Notes • • • • • • ZZ is frequently shortened to Z. and nonshrouded. rectangular or square) E “Extra-high duty” (black/silver with a colored strip at the bottom) G “Medium duty” (silver. 44 mm in horizontal length. 52/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. PC). Y may expand to YY if the 'C' option is used (such as xC. varieties in shackle size. the G44P defines a G series padlock. such as xC/PC) Shackle protection: x Not shrouded P “protected” (with shroud) LE “low guard” (low shroud) HE “high guard” (full shroud) SP “shackle protector” (removable black shroud) SB “sliding bolt” (self-shrouded sliding bolt) XX Y ZZ Therefore. it is not restricted to the T series.Appendix B: Padlock Naming Conventions Mul-T-Lock padlock model numbers follow the format of WXXYZZ. Padlocks as usually listed as [KEY CODE]-[PADLOCK CODE]. W Padlock series: C “Heavy duty” (silver. square and lightly rounded) T “Heavy duty” (silver. A C13xCx defines a C series padlock with 13 mm of shackle clearance.
553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.520. and automotive patents.309 Cylinder lock 5. Cylinder guard shield. Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990. key machines.331. or keys. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005.593. Interactive cylinder 1996. E series padlock (body only) 1998. padlocks. bolts and latches.035 Locking apparatus 5. Classic key blank 1992.307 Gear shift lock 5. all of which are interesting. Classic key blank 1993. E series high shroud 1998. Classic cylinder 1987.839. E series padlock (body only) 1998. E series padlock. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4.267. 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. Classic key blank 1993.259 Pick resistant lock 10. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. too.268 Cylinder lock 5. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5.910 Locking apparatus 5. E series shrouded padlock 2000.123. Interactive cylinder 1998. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there.784. shrouded (body only) 1998. Classic key blank 1991.389 Cylinder lock 4. Gear shift lock 1991.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977.856. Classic cylinder 1990. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990.142. Some other patents are excluded. Classic key blank 1994.393.com) . Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.876 Padlock 7. E series low shroud 2000.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.086.
563. D Cylinder lock guard 96. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992.” Some have interesting titles. C series padlock 1981.623.954.263.808. D Padlock 62.034. D Padlock assembly 104. D Door lock 110. Patent # Title Description 1976. D Cylinder lock 59. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999. D Cylinder lock 92.211. D Cylinder lock guard 99. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982.754.509. D Anti-tampering lock 117. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings.com) . Cylinder guard shield 1991. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987. D Lock housing 122. Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. Classic cylinder 1980.982. D Locking system 116. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002. D Pick resistant lock 1996. D Locking device 83. Cylinder guard shield.696. D Anti-theft apparatus 150. D Pin-tumbler lock 90. Classic cylinder 1990. D Key head 109. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50.984.607 Key for cylinder locks 80.351. (Cool patent) 118.041.095. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992.323. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990.362. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992. Interactive cylinder 1994. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996. D Padlock 99. Classic cylinder 1989. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996.701.606. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase. Interactive key bows 1994.998. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document. D Covering arrangement 67.153. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.705. D Padlock 102. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. D Padlock 129. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997.159. Interactive cylinder 1994.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986. D Cylinder lock 119. D Tamper resistant lock 102. D Cylinder lock 103.349. D Locking apparatus 109.
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.com) 55/56 . Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.722 Cylinder lock 4.436 917. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593.383 Cylinder lock 5.365 1.304 Description 1897. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk.222. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914.894.158.” but these are usually slider based.889 Tumbler mechanism 3. Odd dimple lock.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935. I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks.070 Lock 2.500 Lock 2. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5.095.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973. immune) 1973.022.818.856 1987. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.996. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997.869.653. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951.244. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917.501 Tumbler lock 2.760.
Han Fey's work with ASSA. 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.com/newsdetails.com/index. and last but not least. scorche. Matt Blaze has an excellent introduction to Mul-T-Lock Classic cylinders on his website: http://www.php/Pin_tumbler While not in the scope of Mul-T-Lock systems.com/index. These pages in particular might interest you: • • • • • http://www.nl. Deviant Ollam.lockwiki. buttes.com/photos/misc/mul-t-lock/.Credits. Security Analysis) is available at: http://mul-t-lockusa.com. Thanks for reading! Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.php/Security_Ratings http://www. be sure to visit the Links page for a list of sites related to locksport. Eric Schmiedl. References & Resources All patents referenced in the history section are available in Appendix C. press releases. locksmithing. 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. Marc Weber Tobias. Much thanks to Eric Schmiedl for letting me use his fantastic CLIQ photos for Section 5.crypto.toool. visit LockWiki.com/index. 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.php/Lockpicking http://www. and forensic locksmithing. In no particular order: Jon King (JK_the_Cjer).ericschmiedl. I considered these to be “fair use” under United States law. stderr. too. DOM.lockwiki.php/Bumping http://www.com/index. Eric is a great photographer (and lock picker!).com/index. Abloy. His articles on various high security locks can be found on TOOOL NL's website: http://www. A few pictures were used from Mul-T-Lock's site(s). Babak Javadi.lockwiki.com. Tobias Bluzmanis. His page was helpful in understanding how to explain high security locks without making everything too complicated.lockwiki.com) 56/56 . and other systems was quite motivational and helpful in deciding how to organize this paper.php/Mul_T_Lock http://www. and promotional material. visit his portfolio at http://www.
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