Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security

datagram, Summer 2009

1. Introduction
Hello, I'm datagram, I run www.lockpickingforensics.com and www.lockwiki.com. I chose to write about Mul-T-Lock because they are interesting and (mostly) unique on a technical level. Additionally, there are few references on how they work outside of marketing material, especially for the newer models. (Plus, Han Fey already did Abloy!) This article analyzes Mul-T-Lock telescoping pin-tumbler systems throughout the company's nearly forty year history. We'll also look at security; attacks on the various Mul-T-Lock models and how the company has dealt with these problems. Finally, there are several appendices that provide keying, coding, and patent references for Mul-T-Lock systems. I can be reached at datagram.layerone@gmail.com. See http://www.lockpickingforensics.com/ for more contact information. Corrections, additions, comments, and criticism are all welcome. Note: While I know more than most about Mul-T-Lock systems there are many areas where I could use your expertise. I've done my best to note these places; please contact me if you can help! All contributors will be properly credited unless anonymity is preferred.

2. History of Mul-T-Lock
Mul-T-Lock is an Israeli lock manufacturer founded in 1973 by Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev. The motivation behind Mul-T-Lock began in 1972 when a customer asked a locksmith to install “four extra locks for her front door.” After installing the locks the locksmith consulted with a friend and the two (Bachri and Dolev) designed a multi-point locking system. They went on to form a company around their system, aptly named “Mul-T” Lock. The company gained international popularity over the next thirty years, designing and patenting a multitude of locking systems. Mul-T-Lock is currently one of the most recognized names in security, being used in a wide variety of high security installations, including many prisons. Mul-T-Lock was purchased by the ASSA-ABLOY group in 2000. Though they hold patents for various locking mechanisms, Mul-T-Lock are best known for their dimple pin-tumbler locks that feature telescoping pin pairs, also known as pin-in-pin. In a normal pin-tumbler, pin pairs have a top and bottom pin which separate at the shear line to open the lock. In a telescoping system there are two sets of pin pairs, one outer pair and one inner pair. The outer pin encases all but the tips of the bottom inner pin pair. Both inner and outer tumblers must be properly aligned at the shear line to open the lock.
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It appears the original idea for telescoping pins dates as far back as 1897. Thorsten Rydberg's 1897 patent titled “Lock” describes a lock in which “each tumbler consists of such a severed pin or bar (solid or hollow) surrounded by one, two, or more concentric tubes, severed and springactuated in the same manner as the pin, or it may be of only two or more concentric tubes made to slide in each other.” Unfortunately the patent images are not very clear, but the text clearly describes telescoping pins. In 1914 an interesting telescoping pin-tumbler patent was granted to Christian Hansen of Davenport, Iowa. In Hansen's design, a double bitted pin-tumbler key is used to position telescoping pin pairs (Figure 2.1) on the top and bottom of the keyway. In his design there are inner pins, intermediate sleeves, and outer sleeves. One of Hansen's claims is the ability that the key can be withdrawn in either horizontal orientation, an interesting effect of the position of tumblers and an inverted key bitting. The negative effect of this claim is that number of key differs is drastically reduced for the sake of usability. Hansen provides a complex description of the telescoping pins: “The radial inner pin 24 and the sleeves 26 and 28 of each tumbler, upon insertion of the key 14, are moved outwardly the proper distance so that their outer ends come into registration with the periphery of the key cylinder 9, whereby the latter may be turned.”

Figure 2.1: 1914, Patent images showing a dual-bitted pin-tumbler key with telescoping pins on the top and bottom of the key blade.

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In 1935 Clarence L. Williams and Earl M. Simmons were issued a patent that describes a lock with components described as a “double interfitted pin type.” The patent image (Figure 2.2) shows telescoping pins being used on a traditional pin-tumbler key on both the top and sides of the bitting area. The design of the telescoping pins in this patent most closely resemble early generations of Mul-T-Lock telescoping pins.

Figure 2.2: 1935, Patent images showing outer (13/15) and inner (14/16) telescoping pin-tumblers on the top and side of the keyway. In 1977 Avraham Bachri and Moshe Dolev, founders of Mul-T-Lock, were granted a patent for a telescoping pin-tumbler lock. Unlike the 1935 version, this would have only one row of telescoping pins and would use a horizontal keyway and dimple key. Another important addition was the inverted mushroom security pins and the use of a rounded mating surface between the pins, plug, and cylinder. This would improve tolerances to enhance keying capabilities and pick resistance. Noach Eizen and Rishon Lezion of Mul-T-Lock were granted a patent in 1987 for a similar telescoping pin lock. The 1977 and 1987 patents are the basis for the Mul-T-Lock Classic model. The Classic began a rich history for Mul-T-Lock, the basic principles of which still exist in modern Mul-T-Lock designs. The next few sections will discuss the various Mul-T-Lock models, how they work, and varieties in their design.

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3. Mul-T-Lock Classic
The original Mul-T-Lock telescoping design, patented in 1977, is dubbed the Classic version. The Classic is a dimple lock featuring four or five telescoping pin stacks. The addition of telescoping pins does not change how a dimple pin-tumbler lock works, fundamentally. Pins must still be raised to the correct position; only now that includes both inner and outer pins. When all pins are correctly positioned at the shear line the plug can rotate. One important distinction is that inner and outer pins can be raised to different heights, and a specially cut key is required to do so. Figure 3.1: The Mul-T-Lock Classic, 006 Keyway

Telescoping Systems
The Mul-T-Lock Classic is the first in a series of telescoping locks developed by Mul-T-Lock. From the outside it looks like a standard dimple lock (Figure 3.2). When disassembled we see a unique look to both the pin-tumblers and the plug. When the correct key is used inner and outer tumblers are aligned at the shear line (Figure 3.3). When an incorrect key is used inner and outer pairs are misaligned, causing the shear line to be blocked by one or both sets of pins. This design is the basis for all Mul-T-Lock telescoping systems.

Figure 3.2: A Mul-T-Lock Classic rim cylinder assembled and disassembled.
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Figure 3.3: The Mul-T-Lock Classic when the correct (top) and incorrect (bottom) keys are used.

Telescoping Pins

Figure 3.4 (Left): Standard Classic inner and outer bottom pins Figure 3.5 (Right): An inverted mushroom (outer) bottom pin The bottom pins consist of an inner and outer pin pair (Figure 3.4). The inner pin is spooled to prevent it from falling through the outer pin, but it also acts as a mild anti-picking mechanism. Outer bottom pins are generally standard, though there are variations that resemble an inverted mushroom that provide picking resistance (Figure 3.5).
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This design is a result of a serious vulnerability known as the “Michaud Attack.7. and inner spring (Figure 3. and serrated (Figure 3. mushroom.6). and mushroom top pins. and the design of the top pins allows the inner pin to escape the top pin. inner pin. Security Analysis.Figure 3. The inner spring pushes down on the inner pin stack. Figure 3. Serrated are the most popular security pin in almost all Mul-T-Lock systems. but only partially. Inner top pins can also be lightly spooled (3. serrated.7: Spooled. Mul-TLock is interesting because they've used various designs.com) 6/56 . Outer top pins have a variety of security designs. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. including: spooled.6: Assembled and exploded views of standard Classic top pins The top pins consist of a three piece assembly of outer pin.” discussed further in Section 8. Also note the serrated inner pin (right). A traditional spring is used above the top pins to push all pin stacks down.7). most companies stick with one. right) and combined with bottom pins that have internal milling for additional pick resistance.

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

master keying. Some Classic keys do not use blade warding at all. There are four depths available for outer pins. and so on. with D being the largest.9). The number of real differs is naturally lower due to key restrictions against easy to pick patterns.11). but between inner and outer pins there are a few restrictions: • • With a D outer pin. and works like master keying in a normal pin-tumbler lock. but instead use side warding.Figure 3. Warding on the blade is the most common.12). with 5 being the largest (Figure 3.com) 8/56 . Combinations of blade and side warding make for rather complex key blanks and allow for a wide range of key profiles (Figure 3. 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. There are other variations which use multiple wards. With a C outer pin. Classic keys can be warded on both the blade and side of the key. as well as off-center warding (Figure 3.10).9: Classic bottom pins (all).14). with two single wards along the blade of the key (Figure 3. Most sidewarded keys use a single ward down the center of the side of the key (Figure 3. the inner pin must be 2 or higher. Master keying and side pins are discussed thoroughly in the Mul-T-Lock Interactive section. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. the inner pin must be 3 or higher. though it is more common near the bitting area (Figure 3.) There is no Maximum Adjacent Cut Specification (MACS) for the outer pins. Mushroom bottom pins can be used but only as C and D pins. designated 1-5. Blade warding can be used anywhere on the blade. designated A-D. The 06 keyway is the most common.419. Master keying is provided by the use of small master pins (both inner and outer). but is still fairly accurate. (Note: Full key and pinning specifications are listed in Appendix A. Side (profile) pins are also available but uncommon.13). Notice the difference in lips on the mushroom pins.857 theoretical key differs in a five pin Classic (175). and in the Classic warding extends the full length of the blade.

Figure 3. Figure 3.11 (Right): A Classic key with light warding on the edge of the blade. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.12 (Top Left): A key with no blade wards but a single side warding. by far the most common Classic key profile.Figure 3. Figure 3.com) 9/56 .14 (Bottom Left): A key with complex blade and side warding patterns.10 (Left): The 006C. Figure 3.13 (Right): A comparison of side warding on two different Classic keys.

Bitting orientation must be considered when choosing lockpicking tools. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.The Classic has three styles of key bow that identify it.com) 10/56 . The most common is the black plastic square shaped bow. The last (right) is shared with the Interactive. but if we consider locks mounted upside down (such as European profile cylinders) there are four total. but key bows are available in ten different colors. The patent on Classic keys and key bows ended in 2007. which we'll discuss in Section 8.15). Figure 3. Right-Up/Left-Down is the most common (Figure 3. Orientations are classified by the side of the plug pins are located on and if they point up or down.16).16: Left-Up/Right-Down and Right-Up/Left-Down bitting orientations. Bitting Orientations In addition to key blanks and warding. There are two orientations of the blank (Figure 3. two of which are unique (Figure 3. Security Analysis. keys may be bitted on either side of the key.15: Classic key bow styles. Figure 3.1).

are hardened steel rods above and below the keyway (Figure 3. above the keyway and steel rods.Destructive/Forced Entry Protection The Classic provides various additions that make it resistant to forced entry. overall. near the second and third pin chamber. above and below the keyway. There are two versions of anti-forced entry components.18). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. in both the UL and non-UL cylinders. One is normal. above the plug (Figure 3.19 (Right): A ball bearing sits at the top of the plug. More on what UL certification means in Section 8.18 (Left): Hardened steel rods are inserted in the plug. Figure 3. Security Analysis.19). Figure 3.17: The UL (left) and non-UL steel rod inserts in a Classic cylinder. The difference is in the use of two extra steel rods in the cylinder. and the other used for UL 437 certified cylinders (cylinder is stamped “UL”). Most Classics also use a ball bearing at the top of the plug. above the keyway and upper steel rod (Figure 3.com) 11/56 . The UL version provides better resistance to attack. The other components used. Euro profile type cylinders may also use steel inserts in the cylinder and plug. Figure 3.17).

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

and key Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. various warding styles are used. When compared with the Classic. key bumping. At heart it is still a four or five pin dimple lock that uses telescoping pin-tumblers.com) 13/56 . Figure 4. the Interactive provides heightened security against unauthorized key duplication. but the moving element has a surprising effect on design and security. and serrated top pins are again the most popular. It uses the same top and bottom pin designs. All keys are tip stopped by the cam. 206 Keyway Figure 4. The Interactive (moving) Component The Interactive is functionally equivalent to the Classic in most ways. and visual decoding. Mul-T-Lock Interactive Patented in 1994. 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.2: Top and side views of the plug's interactive chamber. impressioning. anti-forced entry components are the same.4.1: The Mul-T-Lock Interactive.

overall. Figure 4.3). Figure 4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. In that chamber. having the moving element in the second chamber is better. and thus the pins.com) 14/56 . The moving element in the lock may be in the first or second pin chamber. 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. The pin tip raises the moving element on the key. Further discussion on this will be saved until Section 8. The main difference is the chamber with the moving element.4).bitting may be in either orientation. to the correct position (Figure 4. a normal pin stack is used but on the bottom of the plug is a spring-biased component that resembles a pin tip (Figure 4.2). In my opinion. the moving element is always in the first pin chamber and the key uses the second cut as the moving element.3: The Interactive moving element in the default (left) and raised (right) positions. In four pin models. Security Analysis.

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

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

Figure 4. In spite of this. While it doesn't remove the possibility of attack. make the Interactive stronger. it does make the job of gathering information harder for the attacker. though in my experience most Interactives do not come with side pins. This is why the moving element is restricted to the first two chambers. regardless of the other cuts.com) 17/56 . wards on the edge of the blade are common (Figure 4. in my opinion. While there is limited side warding. especially since a key with the incorrect moving element simply will not work.126 (174 * 6). Security Analysis.The Interactive has downsides. All in all this is a strange combination of factors that. It also means that any lock observed with warding can't be an Interactive. One important distinction is that Interactive keys can never have warding extend past the moving element. Regardless of the decrease. with the G (Gold) moving element. it is likely an attacker could just file down the tip of a key to bypass the wards. The difficulty in obtaining. Of course the use of side pins increases this number quite a bit. though. with the 2 prefix because the moving element is in the second position. the number is still high enough to prevent key interchange. Like the Classic. Even if we did. down about 2/3 from the Classic. or simulating Interactive keys also helps to ease fears. the most common Interactive profile is the 206 (Figure 4. Figure 4.9 (Left): The Interactive 206 key profile. we couldn't heavily ward a key with it in the fourth or fifth position. More on this in Section 8. but side warding is limited due to side pins. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Having only three types of pinning available for the Interactive chamber reduces our theoretical key differs to 501.9). 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.10 (Right): Interactive keys with and without warding on the edge of the blade.10). Warding patterns in the Interactive are as varied as the Classic. manufacturing. which means cylinders can never have visible warding. many complex warding schemes are used to provide a variety of key profiles.

The external and internal masters can be used individually. Figure 4. and external master pins as 1 to 3. 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). The one I own lists them in millimeters instead of by code (Figure 4. The rounded plastic design is shared with the Classic. The solid master (4.13). The first two are unique to the Interactive.11: Mul-T-Lock Interactive key bows. two of which are unique (Figure 4.com) 18/56 .The Interactive uses three styles of key bow. The external master (4. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. with 4 being the largest. left) provides master keying for both inner and outer pins. There are 4 sizes available for inner master pins and 3 sizes available for external master pins. but examination of the key to identify the moving element can clear up any confusion.12. but are often combined to avoid MACS problems between inner and outer pins.12: Three styles of master pins used in Classic and Interactive models.12. right) provide master keying for outer and inner pins individually. Figure 4. with 3 being the largest. The patent for Interactive keys expires in 2014. center) and the internal master (4.12.11). I've seen key gauges list the pinning for inner master pins as 1 to 4.

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

Figure 4. one that makes many techniques. Again.com) 20/56 . The Michaud attack is discussed in-depth in Section 8. Of course. using the solid master pins drastically reduces the number of available key differs for a given lock. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but the solid pin chambers will only have 5.14: Solid bottom pin shapes and codes used in master keying. Conclusion The Mul-T-Lock Interactive is in many ways an improvement over the Classic. more difficult. 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 CLIQ and 3-in-1. The difficulty in visually decoding the keyway profile of an Interactive is an interesting sideeffect of the design of the Interactive component. Security Analysis. as well as the troubles associated with obtaining or creating the correct key blanks. but this is at the expense of pick resistance and key interchange. offering a variety of additional and improved security features. the inability to directly cast a key is important. more can be added with solid master pins. especially bumping. A normal telescoping chamber will have 17 combinations of pins. Of those. In the next two sections we'll discuss variations on the Interactive design.

Figure 5.2). The main difference between Interactive and CLIQ locks are the CLIQ components on the bow of the key and inside the plug and cylinder of the lock itself. The mechanical portions of the key and lock are mostly the same as the Interactive so we'll skip discussion of them. the CLIQ was made available to Mul-T-Lock after they joined the ASSAAbloy family in 2000. Introduced in 2004.1). The electronic components on the key bow make these keys stand out when compared with other Mul-T-Lock keys (Figure 5. The CLIQ system is used in several other ASSA-Abloy locks. When disassembled. we see that the bow is actually hollow with electronic components placed inside of it (Figure 5. Euro profile.2: Disassembled and close-up view of the Interactive CLIQ key's electronics.5. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Developed by ASSA-Abloy for their other product lines. such as the ASSA Twin and Abloy Protec.ericschmiedl. the Mul-T-Lock Interactive CLIQ is a combination of the Interactive cylinder with an electronic authentication system known as CLIQ. Key bows are oval and come in a variety of different colors.1: The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ. Figure 5.com). 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) 21/56 .

Inside the lock.3). Control keys cannot actually open the lock because they do not contain any bitting cuts or Interactive element (Figure 5.3: Control key with CLIQ electronics exposed.Figure 5.4). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but are used to reprogram the lock's internal CLIQ electronics and read the audit log. At the bottom of the cylinder and plug.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. 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 .5 (Right): The Mul-T-Lock CLIQ cylinder with sidebar recess shown. Note the lack of bitting cuts.5). Figure 5. Figure 5. Control keys (“C-keys”) look similar to normal CLIQ keys.

com) 23/56 . but instead are powered by inserting the key. A more thorough discussion of CLIQ security and possible attacks is located in Section 8.6). If not.) The sidebar is rather untraditional.6) contacts the inside of the lock. (Note: The actual sidebar component is not shown. the addition of traditional master keying with a CLIQ system's electronic method may be preferred for sensitive installations as an added precaution. Unfortunately. Of course. If the numbers match. I don't have more detail on this process. it will blink red. Assuming the telescoping pins are also properly aligned. Once authentication is successful the electronics rotate a blocking piece to allow the sidebar to drop into the plug (Figure 5. Mul-T-Lock refers to this as a “wakeup signal. the key sends a small pulse to power on the lock. The CLIQ components inside of the lock are not battery powered. 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. the plug can now rotate and unlock the lock.” Once awake. The key answers by encrypting its own number and sending it to the plug.000 attempts). If authentication is successful the LED on the key bow will blink green. Audit logs can be read from the lock using the control key. In either case. and in shape it's more like a large side pin.Figure 5.6: The CLIQ plug restricting (left) and retracting (right) the sidebar controls. The plug decrypts the number and compares to its own. Security Analysis. Please contact me if you can help! Communication between the CLIQ key and lock takes place with 3DES encryption and claims to offer 264 possible authentication token combinations. the CLIQ stores audit logs of authentication successes and failures (the last 1. the sidebar is released and the plug can rotate. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. At the same time. master keying with the CLIQ is considerably simplified compared to traditional. mechanical master keying because of the relative ease with which keys can be added and removed from the electronic system. the plug generates a random 64 bit number and broadcasts a challenge.

com) 24/56 . it is cost prohibitive for all but the most sensitive installations. The SynerCLIQ can be identified because the key bow has a distinct logo when compared to normal CLIQ keys (Figure 5.7). but I'm not sure. Research by Marc Tobias and Tobias Bluzmanis identified various electronic and mechanical design flaws. While the CLIQ uses the Interactive components and similar key. The SynerKey may be an effective alternative for small to medium sized installations. with cylinders alone retailing at $700-1000 USD. These are not CLIQ locks. contact information is available in the introduction to this paper. An upgraded version of this is known as the SynerCLIQ.7 (Left): The SynerKey (non-CLIQ) Interactive key Figure 5. More on this in Section 8. but they do have their own special key bow. which is a CLIQ system with transponder included in the CLIQ bow. It provides the same basic anti-forced entry components as the other models. but the electronic element makes covert and surreptitious attacks harder. The actual security of the CLIQ is currently a hot topic. I would guess this isn't the case.SynerKey / SynerCLIQ A similar system is the SynerKey. 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. While it provides a high level of security.8). Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Security Analysis. 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. Please contact me if you can answer this. which is a traditional Interactive key with a RFID transponder in the key bow (Figure 5.8 (Right): The SynerCLIQ Interactive key Conclusion The CLIQ is one of Mul-T-Lock's most complex models.

Figure 6. which uses the same Interactive components.com) 25/56 . acting like a master pin. When normal keys are used the ball bearing remains below the shear line. the 3-in-1's re-keying function changes the internals slightly. but their internals are the same. When the construction key is used the ball bearing is raised above the shear line and the cylinder is turned. the inner pins used for construction keying each have a small ball at the top (Figure 6. There are Classic versions of the 3-in-1. When removed from the pin stacks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.2 (right): 3-in-1 inner pin with breakaway ball on the top. This section will focus on the Interactive 3-in-1. When we disassemble the plug we notice two oddities (Figure 6. All other pins in the lock are standard. Second. construction keying bores are located on the side of each pin chamber. It allows the user to progressively re-key the lock up to three times given a set of pre-supplied keys. a ball bearing is placed in one of the pin stacks. Unlike the CLIQ. The 3-in-1 functions on the same principle.1 (left): 3-in-1 plug.1). First. At this point. with modified inner pins and construction keying bores. Mul-T-Lock 3-in-1 The 3-in-1 is a user-rekeyable form of the Classic and Interactive systems. When the plug is rotated. The 3-in-1 works like a construction keying system but takes advantage of the telescoping tumblers to do so. In a traditional construction keying system. some of the inner top pins have a modified design.6.2). except it uses a break-away component on inner pin stacks instead of a free-floating ball bearing. Figure 6. The bores are considerably smaller than the outer pin stacks. the ball bearing falls into a bore on the side of the plug and is removed from the pin stack. the previous (non-construction) keys do not work.

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

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. the red key is inserted. Note that if we wanted to we could go straight to red. the Black square plastic bow is commonly used with colored bow inserts to signify keying level. It is considered a variation on the traditional Classic and Interactive designs. The 3-in-1 can technically be made into a five level system.6). Being normal Interactive keys.com) 27/56 . Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.After the yellow key is used we can again re-key the lock with the red key. Figure 6. The same logic applies. only the red key will operate the lock. Figure 6. The next section will discuss Mul-T-Lock's newest systems. but for the most part it functions in exactly the same way. In the Classic 3-in-1. as it will raise both balls above the shear line (Figure 6.7). The same may be done for blue square plastic Interactive bows if keyed by a locksmith. it will raise the other ball above the shear line.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 6.6 (Left): The red key raises all balls above the shear line. In either case. Conclusion The 3-in-1 is a fairly simple construction keying implementation using Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. At this point. 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 MT5 and MT5+. 3in-1 keys may be reused in traditional Interactive cylinders and vice versa. Again. but few real-world applications require that much re-keying in a short period of time.

Mul-T-Lock MT5/MT5+ The newest Mul-T-Lock design is the MT5. The MT5+ version also uses a slider-based sidebar system. showing five telescoping pin pairs.com) 28/56 . 05 keyway Figure 7. Introduced in 2007. In my experience. anyways! The MT5+ is a major improvement on the previous MulT-Lock designs.1: The MT5+.2: The MT5/MT5+ plug. but the MT5 model is essentially the same thing without the sidebar. the MT5 contains the standard telescoping pins and a new moving element called the Alpha spring. Figure 7. Alpha chamber (far left). dubbed so because it is the fifth generation of Mul-T-Lock's telescoping pin system. when people refer to the MT5 they are usually talking about the MT5+.7. This section will focus on the MT5+. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. It is a high-security cylinder that offers additional key control and resistance to compromise when compared to previous Mul-T-Lock models. and anti-drilling/grinding ball bearing.

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

it only exposes the pointed part of the bottom pin. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. Figure 7.5 (Left): The Alpha spring component at the center of the tip of the key. Figure 7.com) 30/56 .6 (Right): The Alpha spring component (cutaway key) is raised by the plug walls.7: The Alpha chamber is not drilled like a traditional pin chamber. Instead.Figure 7.

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

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

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

the sidebar provides additional resistance against many forced entry techniques. and an anti-drill disc is placed in the face of the lock (Figure 7. In the case of the MT5+. but an examination of the bitting for the laser track can clear this up. but cannot be so deep that it breaks the track. In the MT5+. Warding is instead reserved for the sides of the blade where the telescoping and laser track bitting is located. This key bow is visually distinct and is slightly fatter than previous models. In addition.down the center of the key where the Alpha spring is located. Figure 7. The key bow does not specify if the key is for an MT5 or MT5+ lock. The MT5/MT5+ use one type of key bow and it is unique to these models (Figure 7.com) 34/56 . Figure 7.15: Anti-drill disc placed in the MT5/MT5+ cylinder. a ball bearing is included below the bottom steel rod (mirroring the one above). warding can be on the laser track.14: Front and back of the MT5/MT5+ key bow. As you can see. Anti-Forced Entry The MT5/MT5+ provides the same anti-forced entry components as previous models. keys are marked “Patent Pending” so a date for patent expiration on MT5/MT5+ keys is currently unavailable.15). above the plug Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.14).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of this is coupled with needing the correct keyway profile and the inability to casually observe the keyway profile of Interactive locks. the MT5 doesn't offer the same level of security through obscurity that the Interactive does. however. I don't agree that every video is a hoax. If we agree that the Classic and Interactive can be bumped then I see no reason that the MT5 (without sidebar) couldn't also be bumped. In my experience. We can't always do this with the Interactive because we have to consider the moving element.com) 42/56 . but I can say I've bumped and witnessed bumping of both Classic and Interactive cylinders without “treated” components. I can't point out real versus fake. they claim that all videos online are done by people that are not using proper cylinders. In short. as they are assembled in our factories and distributed throughout our network of authorized professional dealers are not susceptible to this type of attack. Finally. which is surprisingly hard to find. Most online vendors sell the Gold (G) element on all cylinders (others may be available upon request). After the media frenzy on bumping in 2006. While none of this stops the act of bumping itself. The sidebar distribution problems that have hampered other locks (ASSA V-10.” 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. and keyway warding that can be visually decoded. As we discussed. we consider the MT5/MT5+. With the Alpha spring in a static position and shape. Mul-T-Lock released a press statement (24 May 2007). Mul-T-Lock’s bump-resistant Interactive cylinders. is to just buy a lock that has the same keyway profile. personally. This leaves the Black (B). This isn't too hard for the Classic. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. but it is possible. The MT5+. It may be possible if we assume the attacker can obtain a key with the proper sidebar. the Silver (S) element is the most popular. Schlage Primus) should not affect the MT5+.Key Bumping Key bumping is a covert entry technique in which force is applied to a specially modified key to cause pin-tumblers to split at the shear line. My guess is the complexity of bumping 10 pin stacks at once. but with the Interactive we need the correct keyway profile and moving element. 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. they all make obtaining the information to successfully bump the lock more difficult. timing. The normal way to obtain a key for a target lock. as sometimes cylinders will not bump for whatever reason. especially now that the patent has expired. In any event. MT5+ sidebars are a combination of region and personal cuts. and a properly cut bump key all play a role. is almost certainly not bump-able. if unavailable directly. force. Obtaining the sidebar code without the bitting code always seemed a little far-fetched to me. Obtaining the proper key blank is a concern in bumping. this is still disputed. This may be challenging. Whether or not Mul-T-Lock models are bumpable is a subject of much debate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Z-1) G Gold (inner pin higher. Most codes printed on keys are limited to XYY or YY.com) 49/56 .Keying Codes Mul-T-Lock key codes follow the format of XYYZ. if necessary. just below the bow of the key. 1 Interactive/Integrator first position 2 Interactive/Integrator second position 5 Integrator position 5 6 Integrator position 6 7 Integrator position 7 8 MT5 9 MT5 Keyway profile Moving element type: C Classic S Silver (uniform heights. 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. Z-0) B Black (outer pin higher. X Moving element position: 0 Classic/7x7 (no moving element). Key codes can be found on the blade. Examination of the bitting can determine the Z code.

95 mm 1. Interactive.00 mm 1. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.40 mm 1. Interactive CLIQ.95 mm 0. and 3-in-1 cylinders ** C and D outer pins may also be of the inverted mushroom style.45 mm 0.com) 50/56 .97 mm 0.75 mm 7.47 mm Pin Length Outer (external & solid) Side/Back Pin Specifications Currently not available.20 mm 5.50 mm 1.25 mm 6. both pins equal Concave.65 mm Applicable to Classic. inner pin higher Flat.00 mm 0.Inner/Outer Bottom Pin Specifications* Pin Designation Inner 0 1 2 3 4 5 * Outer Z A B C** D** Key Blank Left (Cut Depth) n/a (Interactive) 2.75 mm 5.25 mm 5.65 mm 5.65 mm 6. 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. Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.15 mm 6.25 mm Pin Length Outer 4. Interactive (moving) Component Specifications Name Gold Silver Black Code G S B Description Convex.45 mm Inner 4.50 mm 1.45 mm 0.75 mm 6.

Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.com) 51/56 . Please contact me if you have this information! Contact details available in the Introduction section of this paper.MT5/MT5+ Pin Specifications Currently not available. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. MT5+ Slider Specifications Currently not available. 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.

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

Interactive cylinder 1998.123. E series padlock.259 Pick resistant lock 10. Interactive key blank (206 keyway) 1997.035 Locking apparatus 5.461 Cylinder guard D933973 D335253 D342887 D353320 D353534 D353760 Key bow Key blade blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Key blank Description 1977. Gear shift lock 1991. E series low shroud 2000.142. Some other patents are excluded. US Mul-T-Lock Patents Patent # Title 4. E series padlock (body only) 1998. Classic key blank 1993.520.593.308 Locking apparatus D411435 D411730 D415010 D422880 D422883 D426138 Padlock body Padlock body Padlock body Padlock shroud Key bow Padlock shroud 6. E series padlock (body only) 1998.784. Interactive cylinder 1996. Classic key bow (rounded plastic) 1990.553 Monitorable lock Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.307 Gear shift lock 5. Classic key blank 1994. E series high shroud 1998. Classic key blank 1993. Classic cylinder 1990. Cylinder guard shield. too. Classic cylinder 1987. Classic cylinder with a variety of pin designs 1990.876 Padlock 7. and automotive patents. Telescoping lock with counter-milled bottom pins 2005. key machines. bolts and latches. The original telescoping patents discussed in Section 2 are listed there.910 Locking apparatus 5. Classic key blank 1992.com) . Interactive key bow (nickel-silver) 1998. all of which are interesting. E series shrouded padlock 2000.389 Cylinder lock 4. padlocks.331. marketed as “Top Guard” 1990. Classic key blank 1991.267.393.086. Electronic padlock that monitors against forced entry 53/56 5.Appendix C: Patent Listing This is a list of all the patents I could find that are assigned to Mul-T-Lock relating to telescoping locks. 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. or keys.268 Cylinder lock 5.839. shrouded (body only) 1998.309 Cylinder lock 5.

Mechanically changeable lock cylinder and key and key rotating pins rotating pins. D Key head 109. D Pin-tumbler lock 90.159.153. marketed as “Top Guard” 1991. Padlock and shackle shaped to fit motorcycle tires 1987.041. Classic cylinder 1989. Interactive cylinder 1994. D Cylinder lock 59. D Tamper resistant lock 102. D Door lock 110. D Locking device 83. Classic cylinder with two rows of pin chambers 1995.com) .705. The Israeli patent site segments the patent document. D Locking system 116. T series sliding bolt padlock 1997. C series padlock (with removable shroud) 1990. Classic cylinder with key profiling mechanism(s) 1992. Padlock used as gear shift lock in automobiles 1993. D Cylinder lock guard 99. Tamper resistant Classic cylinder 1992.362. Interactive cylinder 1994.606.701.034. Patent # Title Description 1976. C series padlock 1981. Cylinder guard shield.349. D Covering arrangement 67. D Anti-tampering lock 117. D Lock housing 122.808. D Padlock 99. Classic style cylinder with three telescoping pins 1996.954.623.982. so the patent # links to the claims and 'D' links to the drawings.323.754.998.509. Double sided dimple key (no drawing) 1986. Cylinder guard shield 1991.263. Interactive key bows 1994.351. so I'll try to add these if/when they become available. D Cylinder lock 103. Transponder key system for automobiles 2002. D Changeable lock cylinder 1996. D Locking apparatus 109. D Padlock 62. Protective cover for cylinder-based mortise locks 1982.” Some have interesting titles. There are many patents that are “abandoned” or have not reached the “second publication phase. D Cylinder lock 119. D Pick resistant lock 1996. Classic cylinder 1980. Classic cylinder 1990. D Cylinder lock guard 96. E series padlock (with low and high shrouds) 1999.095.696. Padlock with anti-tamper mechanisms 50. D Padlock assembly 104.563. C series padlock (removable shackle) 1992. (Cool patent) 118. D Cylinder lock 92. D Padlock 129.607 Key for cylinder locks 80.Israeli Mul-T-Lock Patents Links are direct to patent PDF files. D Padlock 102. Classic style cylinder with counter-milled pins 54/56 Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics. D Anti-theft apparatus 150.984.211.

I am primarily interested in telescoping pin-tumbler locks. Mul-T-Lock: Design and Security (LockpickingForensics.Other Telescoping Pin-Tumbler Locks Patent # Title 593. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1938.653. Telescoping pin-tumbler / wafer hybrid 1914. Grouped telescoping pin-tumbler (cool keys) 1992.383 Cylinder lock 5.” but these are usually slider based. Telescoping pin-tumbler (Michaud attk.365 1.996.760.158. Cruciform telescoping pin-tumbler 1997.722 Cylinder lock 4. immune) 1973.501 Tumbler lock 2.070 Lock 2. (Both are immune to the Michaud attack) 4.222. Odd dimple lock.894.889 Tumbler mechanism 3.com) 55/56 . Telescoping pin-tumbler 1917. Tubular 3-level telescoping lock 5. Telescoping pin-tumbler 1908.095.244.856 1987.304 Description 1897. Note: I realize there are some locks from the early 1800s that are “telescoping.022.732 Cylinder lock construction 1973.869.436 917. Possibly basis for Alpha spring? Structure of cylinder lock 1990.467 Anti-pick cylinder lock 3.818.500 Lock 2. Faux telescoping pin-tumbler 1951. Telescoping pin-tumbler and tubular lock.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. Telescoping pin tumbler Lock Pin-tumbler lock Cylinder lock 1. Sort-of telescoping pin-tumbler with “arms” 1935.

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

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