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Posted: 9/25/2004 9:18:33 AM EST
Gun cabinet locks no match for pen
Quad City Times
By Barb Ickes
September 25, 2004

By putting two and two together, a Bettendorf father of three managed to break into his own gun cabinet using nothing but a Bic pen.

The man asked that only his first name, Mark, be used in this article, fearing that publishing his identity and the fact that he has guns in his home could invite trouble.

The company that made his gun cabinet was very familiar with Mark’s name after he made several calls to them this week.

When news broke last week about a popular, high-end brand of bicycle lock, Kryptonite, being susceptible to a simple break-in method, the Bettendorf man recognized the type of tubular lock and round key that were described in the story. It sounded just like the lock on the gun cabinet bolted to the wall of his bedroom closet.

After reading the story, the man called Wauconda, Ill.-based Stack-On Products Co., which made his gun cabinet. Even though a company spokesperson assured him his cabinet was secure and the lock could not be opened with a pen, he was not convinced.

“I used three different kinds of pens,” he said. “I need to be thorough. I’ve got three kids living in my house.”

After doing a little research on the Internet and reading about the flaw in the Kryptonite locks, the man went to a Staples store to buy a box of the Bic pens that were specifically cited as the break-in tool. He pulled the ink cartridge out of a pen and widened one end of the barrel slightly by scraping it with his pocket knife, just like a Web site instructed.

“I had run home for lunch and was in a hurry,” he said. “Within 30 seconds, I was into the safe with that pen.”

Another call went into Stack-On, he said, and, this time the same employee told him an engineer would be dispatched to Bettendorf to inspect his gun cabinet.

On Wednesday afternoon, the man demonstrated how he could move the locking mechanism on his gun cabinet with a slightly altered Bic pen.

“You can find more expensive gun cabinets that will protect your weapons from fire and all that, but all I really needed was to keep my guns away from my kids,” he said. “It turns out I had a false sense of security.”

Susan Eckhoff, the vice president of administration for Stack-On, said the calls from Bettendorf launched the company’s engineering department into an investigation of the tubular locks. She would neither confirm nor deny that the locks may be faulty.

“Right now, they’re telling me they’ll have something on our Web site next week — Monday or Tuesday,” she said. “Not everything is finalized.

“(The Bettendorf man) is the only phone call we had,” she said. “We’re very grateful that he did call.”

To hear some area retailers tell it, many gun owners have become increasingly security-savvy and are investing in more expensive gun safes and cabinets that use combination or electronic locks rather than the tubular locks. The less expensive models, such as the Stack-On cabinet that was opened with a Bic pen, are not as popular as they used to be, retailers say.

In fact, some stores have stopped stocking the tubular-lock models made by Stack-On.

“Security is a definite concern and that’s why we stopped selling them,” said Matt Meyer, a manager at K&K Hardware in Bettendorf. “If I wanted to keep my young children out of it, I would choose the heaviest-duty gun cabinet I could find.

“I have two kids and I wouldn’t buy a cheap one.”

The cabinets can range in price from less than $100 to well over $1,000, but, regardless of price, manufacturers boast that all of their cabinets are secure. In fact, the model the Bettendorf father owns is one of the products pictured on the Stack-On Web site, where it notes that the cabinet is “California Department of Justice Certified.”

Even so, Kevin Nyberg, the manager of the Gander Mountain sporting goods store in Davenport, said an increasing number of gun owners are willing to pay the extra money for heavy-duty gun safes and cabinets. He estimated that, in the past six months, his store has sold only a couple of the Stack-On models that use a tubular lock.

Nyberg also said he is confident Stack-On will correct the problem.

“I wouldn’t doubt at all that they’ll be sending lock upgrades … or complete return-to-vendor offers,” he said. “Stack-On is a stand-up company, and I’m sure that when their engineers figure it out, they’ll do something to fix the problem.”

While the Bettendorf man said he is most alarmed by the apparent vulnerability of tubular locks on gun safes, he wonders how many other products are at risk.

“I’m guessing we’ll be seeing Bic pens sticking out of vending machines, pay phones and file cabinets all over the place,” he said. “But security doesn’t get any more important than when you’re talking about keeping guns out of the hands of children.”

Barb Ickes can be contacted at (563) 383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com.


www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1035941&l=1&t=Local+News&c=2,1035941

Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:31:56 AM EST
Thanks for this post - I wonder if mine are susceptible? Ayone have a link to the websites that give the break-in instructions?
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:35:14 AM EST
Well crap. It's time to ban BIC pens so my gun cabinets won't get broken into. BVut what to do about all the pre-ban BICs?

Since my guns aren't safe anymore I guess it's time to get my next project started. My girlfriend has already told me that I need to build a hidden armory room in the house.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:37:58 AM EST
Here's a site that has the video on how to open the locks. Damn, it took like 2 seconds. All you do is pull the end cap off the top of the pen, stick the pen in and twist.

www.engadget.com/entry/7796925370303347/
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:47:23 AM EST
I was bored at work today and tried the Bic trick on a gumball machine in the breakroom to see if it worked. The pen fit inside the lock, but after a couple of minutes of fidgeting, no dice. Maybe only certain makes of lock are vulnerable?
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:55:52 AM EST
Well... No shit!

Buddy of mine told me about this just yesterday! I just tought this was BS....

MN
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:58:04 AM EST
tagged for later reference
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:03:44 AM EST
Someone figures a lock and someone figures out a way to defeat it. Not really suprising I guess, because with the right skills, just about any lock can be picked. Usually not so easily though!
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:05:56 AM EST
Ok since I'm having a lazy Saturday I decided to try this. Here's my results:

The first thing I noticed is the center of the locks on my Stack-Ons is a little larger than the pen. So I took a .223 round and pushed the pen over that to expand it enough to fit on the lock. I tried the pen until my hand got tired, probably 5 minutes, no dice. So I took a break and then went back to it. Probably another 5 minutes into it I hear a click and a clank. I pulled the pen out and saw that it had turned the lock half way. By then my hand was really tired and hurting but since the key can only go in or come out of the lock when it's in the lock position I was stuck. I had to turn it back that half turn with the pen. After probably 3 minutes I heard another click and clank and the lock was again closed.

Total time spent from deciding to start the project, find the pen, fit the pen to the lock, unlock, and then relock the cabinet was less than 30 minutes.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:12:42 AM EST
Put your china in the cabinet, & your guns in the safe. That should fix it.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:21:51 AM EST
Shit. Just watched the vid. Someone is either going to eat a whole lot of recall costs, or lose a lot of custimers. It takes the guy in the vid a casual 2 seconds to open the kryptonite lock.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:44:10 AM EST
The guy in the video opens the lock pretty quick, but it looks like the pen is already marked up from putting it in a lock. That says staged to me. Still, you shouldn't be able to open the thing with a pen no matter what.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:48:33 AM EST
It took someone this long to figure out that many tubular locks are vulnerbale to a tube of plastic that when inserted into the lock will form itself onto the shape needed?


<---- used that method since 1988 (works for alarm system control boxes too) Ooops did I say that outloud!
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 11:30:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By bigdb1:
The guy in the video opens the lock pretty quick, but it looks like the pen is already marked up from putting it in a lock. That says staged to me. Still, you shouldn't be able to open the thing with a pen no matter what.



The guy freely admits in the ensuing discussion that he tried it a few times before filming it - so the pen would naturally have already assumed the proper shape.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 11:54:35 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 12:34:23 PM EST
Sheesh, that vid was to easy.........
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 12:52:15 PM EST
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 12:53:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/25/2004 12:53:28 PM EST by The_Macallan]

Originally Posted By SWIRE:
Ok since I'm having a lazy Saturday I decided to try this. Here's my results:

The first thing I noticed is the center of the locks on my Stack-Ons is a little larger than the pen. So I took a .223 round and pushed the pen over that to expand it enough to fit on the lock. I tried the pen until my hand got tired, probably 5 minutes, no dice. So I took a break and then went back to it. Probably another 5 minutes into it I hear a click and a clank. I pulled the pen out and saw that it had turned the lock half way. By then my hand was really tired and hurting but since the key can only go in or come out of the lock when it's in the lock position I was stuck. I had to turn it back that half turn with the pen. After probably 3 minutes I heard another click and clank and the lock was again closed.

Total time spent from deciding to start the project, find the pen, fit the pen to the lock, unlock, and then relock the cabinet was less than 30 minutes.



Maybe a "Bic & Bic" combination would make it even easier - use a bic lighter to just barely soften the plastic a little and maybe it'll form to the proper shape faster?
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 12:53:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage



Hmm you know I was thinking of getting one of those to store my ammo in as well......
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 1:01:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By 1shott:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage



Hmm you know I was thinking of getting one of those to store my ammo in as well......



Just add a hasp and padlock, you'll be good to go.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 1:08:23 PM EST
Clamped an old 223 case in the drill press, used that to ram the case into the end of the pen. Total time: 1 minute


Vise grips to make sure I have a good grip on the pen + modified pen + homak lock = access to my ammo.


Total time: about 5 minutes, half of which being spent looking for the visegrips.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 1:26:31 PM EST
tubular locks are easiest to pick....done it many times....
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 3:29:10 PM EST
Apparently, traditional locks are just too vulnerable to being picked.


Time for a Lincoln-Lock.

Link Posted: 9/25/2004 5:46:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_in_Seattle:

Originally Posted By 1shott:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage



Hmm you know I was thinking of getting one of those to store my ammo in as well......



Just add a hasp and padlock, you'll be good to go.




+1 took about 5 mins to do
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:02:34 PM EST
I have one of those quick access 1-2 pistol safes that I keep in the bedroom. When we had just moved into the new house I didn't have a night stand since we had gotten rid of our old ones because they were kind of shabby. Well, I came into my bedroom one night to find the gunsafe open and my 1911 and Glock 27, both of which were loaded with a round in the chamber, in view with the door of the safe open. Fortunately both of my children know not to touch guns and my daughter was just on her way to tell me what had happened when I walked in.

She said my son, who weighs 45 lbs, jumped on top of the safe and it popped open.

I feel like I paid $130 for a worthless safe. Now it sits in the top of my closet.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:04:30 PM EST
Frick.

I've SOLD hundreds and hundreds of Kryptonite locks, I've used them for 25 years.


The things are damned near indestructible. But opened with a Bic? Shit.

Those tubular locks were supposed to be MORE pickproof.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:18:38 PM EST
I bet a crow bar would work really well too.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:28:58 PM EST
those type of locks are EASY to pick, you can open them with just about any key that will fit into them, try it jiggle the key while turning. They are the same locks that are on desks and file cabinets. The lock on my file cabinet is a breeze to open.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:32:47 PM EST
Well shit! I have been using Kryptonite locks for years for locking up tools left on the jobsite. I guess I need to re-think my security.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:33:44 PM EST
Alright, I don't know what you guys are doing, but I tried for about 15 mins on both a kryptonite and my Homak. I did the same expand a bic pen housing over a .223 round ordeal and tried all the twists and jiggles I knew. No luck, not even close. Looks like they are safe from ME.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 9:48:31 PM EST
Tagged for later
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:04:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By G-Rated:
Alright, I don't know what you guys are doing, but I tried for about 15 mins on both a kryptonite and my Homak. I did the same expand a bic pen housing over a .223 round ordeal and tried all the twists and jiggles I knew. No luck, not even close. Looks like they are safe from ME.



It helps to have an understanding of how locks work (the mechanics of 'em) -- I think I just got lucky -- I've done it a couple times since then and it took me a bit longer, but I was able to get in each time.


Next task is a pop machine I've got access to (and a key for....I just want to see if it works) but that'll probably have to wait until next weekend.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 10:11:01 PM EST
Now, if people *knew* that it was possible to do this before, but kept it to them self......

Now that this story is out, every two bit crook will know this trick..... what is more irrisponsible.... knowing and keeping it quiet or telling the whole world.......

Before hand, I didn't know about this. Am I glad I know, yes.... But so does everyone else..... looks like Bic pens will be cleared out....
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 12:02:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2004 12:03:22 AM EST by Synister1]
My safe is pretty much pick proof. I imagian it "could" be done but it would take alot of time.

My key is X in shape and each point has a different set of tumblers.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 2:31:03 AM EST
once you get the pop machine's lock started to open, it usually takes many turns after that



Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:

Originally Posted By G-Rated:
Alright, I don't know what you guys are doing, but I tried for about 15 mins on both a kryptonite and my Homak. I did the same expand a bic pen housing over a .223 round ordeal and tried all the twists and jiggles I knew. No luck, not even close. Looks like they are safe from ME.



It helps to have an understanding of how locks work (the mechanics of 'em) -- I think I just got lucky -- I've done it a couple times since then and it took me a bit longer, but I was able to get in each time.


Next task is a pop machine I've got access to (and a key for....I just want to see if it works) but that'll probably have to wait until next weekend.

Link Posted: 9/26/2004 2:32:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By Kaliburz:
Now, if people *knew* that it was possible to do this before, but kept it to them self......

Now that this story is out, every two bit crook will know this trick..... what is more irrisponsible.... knowing and keeping it quiet or telling the whole world.......

Before hand, I didn't know about this. Am I glad I know, yes.... But so does everyone else..... looks like Bic pens will be cleared out....



They have known pretty much since the day those locks were introduced....In fact, I opened my first one by using copper wire braided in a ring, and massaging a twisting with slight pressure to open it. It basically acted like a tension bar and pick all in one...
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 3:10:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage

I use the same set up. Of course, I just leave the key in the lock
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 3:12:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By Kaliburz:
Now, if people *knew* that it was possible to do this before, but kept it to them self......

Now that this story is out, every two bit crook will know this trick..... what is more irrisponsible.... knowing and keeping it quiet or telling the whole world.......

Before hand, I didn't know about this. Am I glad I know, yes.... But so does everyone else..... looks like Bic pens will be cleared out....



Security through obscurity never works out, ask Bill Gates.

Bob
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 5:18:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:

Vise grips to make sure I have a good grip on the pen + modified pen + homak lock = access to my ammo.

Total time: about 5 minutes, half of which being spent looking for the visegrips.



I've got that beat! One time I put a gun in my Homak, the locking mechanism knocked a rifle over as I locked it. When the rifle fell, it jammed against the mechanism so I couldn't turn the lock again. Grabbed my cold chisel and 5 lb hammer, one smack and the front of the lock snapped off, one more smack at the hole and the lock fell into the safe.

Total time, about 2 minutes.

My guns are now in a Zonatti Armor Safe.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:26:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By bigdb1:
The guy in the video opens the lock pretty quick, but it looks like the pen is already marked up from putting it in a lock. That says staged to me. Still, you shouldn't be able to open the thing with a pen no matter what.




Maybe he tried it before he shot the video so he wouldn't look like a goober if it didn't work?
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 6:40:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_in_Seattle:

Originally Posted By 1shott:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage



Hmm you know I was thinking of getting one of those to store my ammo in as well......



Just add a hasp and padlock, you'll be good to go.




+1, just make sure you use one of those high-security padlocks; the ones with the tubular keys.





Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Those tubular locks were supposed to be MORE pickproof.




They ARE more pickproof in regards to standard picks. Somebody just thought outside the box on this one and blew everyone away.

This deficiency has been known about for years in the hacker/phreaker underground. If I'm not mistaken, I read about it in an issue of Phrack some years ago.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 10:33:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By Synister1:
My safe is pretty much pick proof. I imagian it "could" be done but it would take alot of time.

My key is X in shape and each point has a different set of tumblers.



4 Bitted Key Lock you have a Sentry safe?

The 4 Bitted Key Locks are VERY tough to pick, it's doable but not practical time wise. In the case of those it's better use another method to get past the lock.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 12:10:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
/me grabs pen and heads of to old homak 'safe' serving as ammo storage


+1.... BRB
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 4:08:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2004 4:10:22 AM EST by Synister1]
Sentry 4 bit lock, different housing.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 8:24:40 AM EST
Just gleaned this from the Stack-On web site:

WEB SITE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM
JOHN LYNN, PRESIDENT OF STACK-ON PRODUCTS CO.

Since recent news reports indicated that Kryptonite bicycle locks - and other locks using tubular cylinders - can be compromised, we have worked with our lock supplier and engineers to conduct an analysis of our own products.

We are pleased to report that all of our gun safes and fire resistant safes are not affected by the developments concerning tubular cylinder locks. Our gun cabinets, however, do use a type of tubular lock and tests we conducted indicate that some of these locks are susceptible to being picked through certain manipulations.

All of our gun safes and gun cabinets comply with accepted industry security standards. While all of our products continue to provide a significant deterrent to theft, we want to provide an option to our gun cabinet customers who would prefer a non-tubular lock. For those customers we are offering, free-of-charge, a replacement non-tubular lock, with instructions for installation.
For 32 years, our hallmarks have been safety, security and customer satisfaction. We are committed to you, our customer, and will continue to do everything we can to provide for your storage needs. Thank you for your time. Please contact our customer service department at (800) 323-9601 or visit our website www.stack-on.com if you have any further questions.


Link Posted: 9/28/2004 9:46:15 AM EST
Kalifornia will be banning this in the next session. Also heard Feinstein and Co is seeking a Congressional ban on Bics!
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