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What Is a Bump Key?

Using a ‘bump key’, or lock bumping, is a lock picking technique used to open a pin tumbler lock. One bump key will work for all locks that are of the same type. A bump key will work on all locks of the same keywave which means that a bump key that works on a Schlage lock will work on all Schlage locks with the same amount of pins or less.

If you look at a bump key you will notice that cuts are jagged like teeth. Applying pressure to the key while tapping it allows for a split-second that the top pins are above the sheer-line and the bottom pins are below it thus allowing the cylinder to turn.

How to Defend Against Bump Keys

  • Replace your current locks to high-security locks like Medeco, Mul-T-Lock and Schlage Primus for example.
  • Replace your locks to electronic locks, magnetic locks, or locks using rotating disks which are not vulnerable to this attack.. These provide better security and are easy to recode. The customer has to ability to recode these locks himself most of the time.
  • A bump key must have the same blank profile as the lock it is made to open. Restricted or registered key profiles are safer from bumping because the correct key blanks cannot legally be obtained without permission or registration with relevant locksmith associations.
  • Install an alarm system. Even though this will not cancel the susceptibility of your locks to key bumping, our experience finds that alarm systems provides a good deterrent to the everyday burglar.
  • Locks that contain trap pins engage when a pin that does not support them will jam in the lock’s cylinder.
  • Shallow drilling, in which one or more of the pin stacks is drilled slightly shallower than the others, is another method of prevention. If an attempt were made on a lock that has shallow drilled pin stacks, the bump key will be unable to bump the shallow drilled pins because they are too high for the bump key to engage.

What Does It Mean to Rekey Locks?

Rekeying is the procedure of altering a lock’s internal pins thereby making the initial key no longer usable, allowing the lock to be used with a new key. Though commonly referred to as ‘changing a lock’, rekeying in does not actually require the replacement of the lock itself but a resetting of the tumbler combination to fit a new key.

By rekeying a lock you can consolidate an unlimited number of locks to your home to the same key. This can save you the hassle of carrying a multitude of keys on your key-ring. If you’ve misplaced your key or if you are concerned that the missing key is in the the possession of an untrusted party, instead of replacing your locks altogether and being forced to pay for the hardware you can simply rekey your existing lock making the original key useless. Finally, you can make a single key work with a minimal number of locks, a second to work with two additional locks and a third that works with all of the locks for access to limited areas. This is also known as master rekeying.

What Is a Master Rekey?

Master rekeying enables you, the owner of a business for example, to have one key that will work just on the front door, and a second key that will work on both the front door and your office thus enabling you to have fewer keys on your keychain.