Lock Bumping – Is The Risk Real, Or Just Hype?

Lock Bumping – Is The Risk Real, Or Just Hype ?

Lock bumping became a “buzz word” on the Internet and in the print and television news media very quickly. As of a few years ago no one other than professional locksmiths and a few advanced thieves knew anything about lock bumping.

This “new lock by-pass technique” began to be written about on the Internet, video’s posted on U-Tube showed young children being quickly taught the technique, television news media began running reports on nightly news shows, newspapers published stories chronicling the history and showing the lock bumping technique in great detail. Very quickly web sites went online selling “bump keys” and instructions to anyone willing to pay for them. See the video below for a demo of “lock bumping” and several ways to protect against it!


Many of the stories about “lock bumping” left out many of the true facts about the history, the technique, the availability of tools or how to make them, and how real the risk really is.

  • This technique has been familiar to the locksmith trade for close to 100 years, and possibly longer.

  • Very few locksmiths use this “lock by-pass technique” in their daily work because the success rate is not nearly as high as many other techniques they use.

  • The key blank is really the most necessary “tool” needed, and that key blank must be able to fit the particular lock that is being by-passed. Once you have the key blank it needs to be modified, if you are not familiar with, and have access to locksmith tools and machines, this is not easily accomplished.

  • “Bump keys” can be purchased online, even on eBay, however, you still have to learn and practice the technique.

    Bump Key - Lock Bumping

    Sample Bump Key

How about the risk…

  • According to authorities the overwhelming percentage of home or small business break-ins are done by small-time thieves, usually drug users looking for enough money to get their next fix. Entry is most typically made through an unlocked door, or via a forced entry attack, most likely a “kick-in”.

  • Thieves are typically wary of making excess noise and being visible when breaking in, using this by-pass technique can produce substantial noise and does require some light.

  • Most small-time thieves are not going to put in the effort to learn this technique or purchase the tools needed.

The above information is meant to educate the reader on how real this risk may be and is not meant to minimize what is a very real, however seldom realized, risk.

How can this risk be combated…

  • High-security locks are available that are constructed in such a way that they cannot be attacked with this method, not only can most of the locks in this class not be bumped, they are also of very high quality and very secure against multiple threats.

  • If you have and use home security or alarm system, you have another line of defense.

  • High-end access control systems, even for home use, do not rely on keys for access, thus negating the threat.

  • Keyless locks are becoming very popular, however, if they have an emergency by-pass key cylinder they could be vulnerable. Many of them can be equipped with a high-security cylinder replacement.

Are these solutions expensive?

  • They are more costly than the run of mill “big box store” $9.95 special, however, keep in mind that you usually only need to take special measure on exterior doors, and if you add up the value of your possessions, having and using these locks or systems is cheap insurance indeed.

View the Video above for factual information on lock bumping.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *