Key bumping has created quite a buzz lately and a huge opportunity for locksmiths and security professionals. I can speak from first hand experience that consumers are quite aware that there is a problem and they want answers. As I field phone calls in the Medeco/Arrow Technical Support...
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Key bumping has created quite a buzz lately and a huge opportunity for locksmiths and security professionals. I can speak from first hand experience that consumers are quite aware that there is a problem and they want answers. As I field phone calls in the Medeco/Arrow Technical Support Department, I hear the same question from John and Jane Q. Public; “Are your locks bump proof?”
So, in order to understand this recent bump-mania, I’ve started to ask callers how they’ve heard about key bumping. Most have seen one of the many TV news stories that have highlighted how easy it is to obtain the necessary tools and skills to make and use a bump key. Then, concerned for their own security, they proceed to the internet where they are greeted by an unbelievable amount of information on how to successfully bump through most common pin tumbler locks. They call us because they are worried.
Although this by-pass technique has been around for many years, the internet has helped to spread information that was once privy to only those trained in locksmithing. Free to anyone in cyberspace, this information could easily be used to exploit the weaknesses inherent in the vast majority of standard pin tumbler locks.
Now I have two choices. I can tell them it’s an over-exaggeration of the facts and that bumping really isn’t a threat to them, or I can tell them the truth. The truth is we don’t know exactly how prevalent key bumping has become. We do know how easily anyone can obtain detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to create and use bump keys. Do a little internet surfing for yourself. Try “key bumping how-to” as your search key words. Alarming, isn’t it?
The notion that this information isn’t being used by criminals is reckless and irresponsible. It’s low-hanging fruit for those with bad intentions. It has been proven that the instructions you can find online for bumping are accurate and can be used to easily create a functioning bump key. Some will learn to bump their way into places they shouldn’t be, and they will leave no trace. The fact is that everyday more and more people are learning this technique whether we want them to or not. It is our responsibility to make accurate and helpful recommendations to worried consumers when they seek our help.
I see the key-bumping media frenzy as an opportunity for locksmiths to educate the general public on the value of high security locks. Standard pin tumbler locks have always been more vulnerable to certain attacks than their high security brethren, but our industry has relied on restricting the sale of locksmithing tools and the guarding of information to maintain some “sense” of security. However, bumping requires no special, hard-to-acquire locksmithing tools, and the how-to knowledge in text and video form is all over the internet. In fact, to the untrained eye, a bump key doesn’t look much different than any other key. So now that the cat is out of the bag, how do we as responsible security professionals ensure that our customers are getting the protection they deserve?
First, we must acknowledge that these fears about key bumping are warranted. This is a real problem, but it’s not the only problem. Picking, drilling and the unauthorized duplication of keys are also just as severe of a threat, but are not as sensationalized right now. You, the professional locksmith and public’s educated security advisor are in a unique position to use this opportunity to educate the public about the solutions that lead to better security, including high security locks. Armed with the proper knowledge, consumers can make informed decisions when choosing how to secure their homes and businesses. They will not find this knowledge at the local do-it-yourself big box retailer. The only place that they can get this advice is from you, the security professional.
Think of the recent key-bumping media frenzy as an opportunity to educate your customers and the general public on the value of high security locks.
People are asking what key bumping means for our industry and for the security of existing locks in use.