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For the safe afficianados here . . . Amazing safe cracker

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by JCinPA, Mar 27, 2010.

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  1. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    I've been researching safes again because I've outgrown mine. Mostly based on things read here and elsewhere by safe technicians I decided to put my mechanical dial lock back on my safe (had put an electronic on it). While surfing the Internet I came across this guy.


    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Check out the video on this guy's home page. With no tools at all--nothing-- he opens an Amsec with a dial lock in a little over a minute. It's long, but at about 7 minutes, it gets interesting. He opens a bank vault with (I would think) a manipulation resistant lock in under 6 minutes!

    http://www.jeffsitarsafecracker.net/Jeff_Sitar_Website.html

    I certainly am not worried about this guy coming to my home, and he is beyond rare . . . the fact that he has won a SAVTA safe cracking competition seven times puts him in the Chuck Norris skill category in his field. But it is fascinating to watch.

    I am still glad I put my dial lock back on my safe, though. It's an RSC, I don't have more than about $10,000 worth of guns to lock up and no other valuables like jewels or anything, just important papers. But I do think when I finally get my Amsec BF7240, at some point I will replace the S&G 6730 that comes on it with an S&G 6630. And I'm going to call ADT and have them put a sensor for my alarm system in the room with my safe.

    Glad this guy is a bonded safe tech and not a burglar! Enjoy the video.

    Later edit: Question for a1abdj I just thought of. This raises an interesting question in my mind. Again, it doesn't matter to me, I don't have a lot of $ value to protect, and my home is not a target for high-end jewel thiefs. But after watching this guy, I realize that if safe techs can do this, at least some criminals can also do this. Not every skilled safe cracker is going to be a bonded safe tech, it's human nature.

    So it occurs to me there is a tradeoff between risk of failure and security between say, the S&G 6630 and the S&G 6120 electronic. In my case, with a Liberty RSC the weak link in my safe are the walls, not the dial lock, and I'm not so security minded. But for a jewelry store, which would be a natural target for a talented thief, does the dial lock not now become the weak link in their system? Would they be better off with the electronic? Calling you to open a failed lock once every ten years would simply be a cost of doing business to them.

    I always think like an economists, and there is a tradeoff between security/reliability, but does the electronic not offer a meaningful jump in security? Again, for a legitimate target who has to worry about it. I'm more concerned about having to call you for a lockout, frankly, and not the least bit worried about a safe cracker in my house. Just curious. After seeing this, I'd think most true vaults/safes would have long ago switched to electronic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  2. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    That was an interesting video, but I'm not sure where you're coming up with him opening an AMSEC safe in a little over a minute. He was fast, but not that fast. Seems it was just under 5 minutes to manipulate the lock.

    That brings up an interesting point where electronic locks are concerned. I'm not a locksmith, but I've never heard of any technique that will successfully allow an electronic lock to be manipulated. Auto-dialers can be used on a mechanical lock without the operator having to have any skills in manipulation, but I'm not aware of anything that can be attached to an electronic lock which will enable it to crack a code.

    Anybody have any comments?
     
  3. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Jeff is at the top of his game. There are very few people out there that are as good as he is. I've been in this business for awhile, and I'm a very poor manipulator. I don't think there are many professional burglars out there with these skills either. In many
    cases it is just as fast to drill or force the safe open in other ways.

    Locks are rated against manipulation resistance. Most mechanical locks found on gun safes are group 2 locks. They offer the very least resistance against manipulation while still meeting the remaining UL requirements. Electronic locks are group 1 locks by design. Group 1 locks offer much higher resistance to manipulation. They do make mechanical locks with group 1 ratings.

    In commercial applications, electronic locks can do things that mechanical locks rarely do. Audit trails, built in time lock features, panic alarm activation, multiple users, time delays, user changeable combinations, etc, are all features that businesses would like to have in a lock. To them, these types of features offset the costs of eventually having to drill the lock.

    Not available commercially, but I have seen just such a device. It was engineered by a safe tech who's heavily involved in the design of safes and locks. He's currently in Europe, so no worries for those in the US using electronic locks.

    The only downside to electronic locks from a brute force standpoint is that there are ways to attack the lock that will bypass the hardplate in the safe.
     
  4. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    When you say you've seen such a device, are you saying you've seen it or just heard about it?

    As for this tech being in Europe, I'm assuming it's the technology, not the tech, that we need to worry about. How does his device get around the wrong try penalty incorporated into most electronic locks?

    Last, but not least, what is the difference when it comes to "brute force" and the ability to attack it by by-passing the hardplate? Not trying to give you grief, but they are exactly the same size and in the same spot as the mechanical counterpart. Just curious.
     
  5. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    Thanks, a1abdj! I'm not really worried about any burglar getting at my safe, but you know I'm fascinated by these locks for some reason. You convinced me (among other things I've read) to remove the S&G 6120 I put on my safe and put my mechanical lock back on. Subsequently, I talked to my bro-in-law who was a bank manager, and he said they like the electonics on inside safes for all the reasons you mentioned . . . but they always did fail eventually. They might go 5-10 years, but they'd fail. Mine wasn't used as much as a bank's would be, but I lost confidence in it.

    That and a post by the Zanoti Armor guy saying 10% of the locks they sell were electronics but those account for over 90% of their lock problems! That takes the 80/20 rule and runs it up to about 92/8?

    I'm more worried about that than burglars. And having fiddled with manipulation a little bit myself, I'm not worried about burglars doing that, either! ;) Just saving up so I can order an Amsec BF 7240 from you one of these days!
     
  6. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    That's a reliability issue, not a safety issue.
    If an intruder kills you while you are trying to get your mechanical lock open in the dark, that's not a lock problem.
    I'll keep my e-lock, thanks.
    To each, his own.
     
  7. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    But my home defense guns are not in the safe. Keep your defensive guns accessible.

    Unless your gun safe is in your bedroom, I'd say you are raising pretty much a non-issue. My gun safe is in my study, many folks have them in their basements or garages. Any intruder would be between us and our gun safe in all liklihood. The difference between electronic and dial is moot then.

    Regardless of what lock is on your gun safe, if you want to defend your home, your gun should be on your person or close at hand. My bedroom gun is in a heavy (now discontinued) 3/8" steel box with 1/4" door and Simplex pushbutton lock on it under the bed. I'm wearing my daily carry piece now, been with me all day.

    To your point, however, if my only guns were in the gun safe, I might think your way. As you say, to each his own! ;)
     
  8. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    Chirp... :D

    I personally like electronic locks and have one on my personal safe due to ease of entry. That being said, I too would suggest not having all your guns in your safe when it comes to home defense. Things just happen too quickly, even for Simplex or electronic locks. If nothing else, remove a gun from your safe each night, then return it the next morning.
     
  9. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    A combination of both. He posted photos and a vague description of how it works on a professional safe tech forum I am a member of.

    Although I have not seen him use it to open a safe, he is known world wide as one of the best in the safe business. He has an engineering background and often works with manufacturers to design new methods. He is also the go to guy for many of the large insurance companies when determining risk tables.

    It would be the technology. However, I doubt he's shared it with anybody. I do not know exactly how it works, I only know that it does. I would have to go back and read the post, but if I recall it works on all LaGard and S&G manufactured locks.

    You can easily gain access to vulnerable parts of an electronic lock (that is not remote mounted) without having to drill through hard plate. You can not easily gain access to vulnerable parts of a mechanical lock in the same fashion.
     
  10. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    A1, you really don't have to do a play by play with everything I post, but I was curious as to how any of this technology addresses the penalty lockout used on these locks. Maybe you don't know, and that's perfectly fine if you don't. Again, I was just curious.

    As to vulnerable parts of an electronic lock being unprotected, which ones are those?

    Sure, you can pop off the keypad and yank the wiring harness out, but that won't help a would-be thief access the safe. Cannon, for example, covers such an attack under their warranty. No doubt such an attack isn't a concern with a mechanical lock, but other than that... ??
     
  11. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Like I said, I have no idea how it does it. I'm not the one who engineered the device. Although I am more than capable of unlocking electronic locks, I have little knowledge of the programming and electronics inside of them.

    Motors and solenoid wiring.

    It would if the thief knows that doing this will bypass the hardplate.
     
  12. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    For me, it all comes down to; Nothing is fool proof, 100% effective.

    If the right bad guy wants it, one way or the other they'll get it. My job is no not make it easy, and If I'm home, I need to be able to get to them first.
     
  13. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Slightly more relevant probably:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhOjWHbD6M

    Two completely untrained individuals with no real idea what they're doing (beyond "let's pry this thing open") or how safes work inside, breaking into a $1,000 gun safe. Who were also way faster than the pro.
     
  14. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    Ryan, that video is pretty well-known, has been around quite a while and on quite a few sites. Bolting your safe down helps a lot in that regard. Mine is in a corner against a left wall, so they can't really pry that side. Although they could pry the right side it's much tougher standing up than it would be if you could knock the safe over, jam that wrecking bar in there and get your full weight out on the end of it. Doing it standing up is a horse of a completely different color. Bolt your safe down. Doesn't make it impossible to get into, but it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult with standard pry tools.
     
  15. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    Hate to sound like a smarta$$, but if you're not familiar with the programming and don't know how the aforementioned device works, how can you unlock an electonic lock without an invasive procedure such as drilling it?

    Too bad this place won't allow multiple quotes, but the motor is inside the lock casing which is behind the hardplate. Of course I'm talking about S&G, LaGard, and LP locks. Maybe you aren't. I stated the wiring harness could be pulled out if the keypad were removed while claiming that wouldn't help a thief enter the safe. You replied that it would if the thief knows that doing that will by-pass the hardplate. What role does hardplate play in this? It's not like you could drill a wire and accomplish anything.

    While I certainly don't expect you and wouldn't encourage you to give a step by step explanation on how this would help, it is my understanding that nothing can be done with the wiring that would enable a thief to tamper with the lock. Can you enlighten me/us without giving away any trade secret?
     
  16. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    If I knew, I'd build a similar device. :D

    Of course his machine would only be useful for opening safes with locks in good operating condition. Usually, if I'm involved, the lock isn't working at all.

    S&G's motor is not behind the safe's hardplate. LaGard's motors and solenoids are, but the wiring isn't necessarily.

    The keypad and wiring will not assist a thief in entering the safe. The lack of hardplate could if you're dealing with an educated thief.

    Not in detail. However, hardplate is designed to prevent drilling into the lock body. With most electronic locks, there are parts of the lock exposed that are not protected by the hardplate.
     
  17. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    Well hell, if nothing else I got a smile out of you.:D

    As for the S&G, the only one's I've retrofitted into mechanical equipped safes has had everything inside the case which does in fact fit behind the hardplate in the same area as the mechanical it replaces. What am I missing here?

    As for hardplate, isn't the size area of the hardplate going to vary with different manufacturers?

    Sorry if I'm being dense, but I must be missing something here.
     
  18. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    The big hole where the spindle/wires go.
     
  19. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Member

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    OK, now I see where you're coming from with your claim about hardplate coverage. That being said, drilling into an electronic lock through that hole won't open it any more than drilling a mechanical lock through that point (not that you could) would either... would it?

    I'm still missing the part about the motor not being behind the hardplate on the S&G unless you are saying it's exposed by virtue of this now unfilled hole.
     
  20. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    I'm not sure what is exposed, and a1abdj is understandably reticent to add details, but what I gleaned from that (and I could be dead wrong) is there are ways you can attack the electronic locks through the spindle hole, not necessarily just by drilling but stuff done with other tools, that could compromise the lock. Maybe getting a flexible probe in there, things that could help get the bolt withdrawn that you cannot do with a mechanical lock. With mechanicals, you are forced to go through the hardplate because you can't get at anything vulnerable in a mechanical through the spindle hole. Different electonic locks have varying degrees of vulnerability this way based on the layout of what's inside the lock body.

    That's how I read that, but again, I could be wrong and I doubt a safe tech is going to provide details, for very good reason.
     
  21. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    By the way, just because I'm bored, I guess, I've tried manipulating my own S&G 6730 for hours and am completely baffled by it and I KNOW my combination! I think I have a pretty thorough understanding of how it's supposed to work and I can't do anything with it. That makes that fellow in the video even more impressive. He truly is a freak of nature, evidently. :) He's amazing.

    I'm sure not worried about my local crack heads figuring it out.
     
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