Archive for Locks

Wi-Fi Door Locks And Much More

Wi-Fi door locks can be controlled by the internet.  That statement is true but there is so much more.  In this article I will explain what Wi-Fi door locks are and I will touch on other items in your house that can be controlled giving you a complete Wi-Fi house.

Wi-Fo Door Locks

The mechanical part of the lock must be made of high quality materials and should meet standard ANSI lock specifications.  Most of these locks will be battery operated and may have a key override or at least some other way to gain entry in case of battery failure.  You may see push buttons on the front of the lock which is becoming a standard feature. Many Wi-Fi Door Locks look like regular door locks and the mechanical part of the locks will operate the same.

The lock has a small computer and Wi-Fi chip that will communicate through your house Wi-Fi.  The setup is usually done through a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.  Entry codes are set up so that everyone in the house has their own code.  Temporary codes can also be issued, for example, to service people, a friend or relative.  They can be set up to expire in a certain amount of time.  Reporting and logging the entry and exits are also available.  It can log the time, date and what person opened the door.  If you are not home you can still communicate Electronic Push Button Lockswith the lock through its Wi-Fi connection.  For example, someone you know might need to get into your house and you are not there.  They will call you on your cell; you will then send a temporary code to the lock.  The person at the front door will enter that code and gain entry.

There many items in your home that can be controlled via Wi-Fi and more are coming, here are a few examples:

  • Thermostat-the temperature in your home can be remotely controlled just like the lock
  • Camera- commercial cameras have been able to be remotely controlled for years, now they are coming to the residential market
  • Plugs-when you are able to control a plug remotely then you can control anything that is plugged into it
  • TV’s, music, curtains, water leak sensors, refrigerators, and much more

We are very quickly approaching the point where we will have the “Connected House”.  Years ago the first home automation technology was called x10, it is still around today, however it is being replaced by Wi-Fi technology and in some cases a combination of x10 and Wi-Fi.

For additional information please contact us.

Cargo Locks-Securing Trailers and Containers

Cargo Locks are something that we don’t think about very often, maybe we should.  With terrorism high on everyone’s mind it is a different time then it was before 9-11.  Think about all the Tractor-Trailer (Semi-Trucks) that are on the road.  What are they hauling or what could they haul?  What about all the shipping containers that enter the U.S. through our ports?  Are they secure?  There are two ways to secure trailers and containers: one is by using security tags that are placed on the locking mechanisms and are tracked by serial number or RFID.  The other way is Changeable PUCK Cargp Locksto use Cargo Locks and Locking Systems.  In this Blog I will discuss Cargo Locks.

Types of Cargo Locks:

  • King Pin Lock: This lock secures the “King Pin” on the trailer. Once placed on the King Pin, the trailer is not able to be hooked up to the tractor.  The tractor king pin is what connects the trailer to the tractor.
  • Glad Hand Lock: The “Glad Hand” is a coupling device that connects the air supply from the tractor to the trailer. The Gland Hand Lock secures this device so that the trailer cannot be connected to the trailer.
  • Air Brake Lock: This lock connects to the dash board of the tractor securing the air brake switches.
  • Gear Down Lock: This lock secures the landing gear of the trailer preventing them from being cranked up into driving position.
  • Vertical Door Bars: These locks secure the rear doors of the trailer to prevent them from being opened.
  • Roll Up Locks: These locks secure the roll up doors that are found on some trailers.

Locks:

Abloy Environmental Cargo LocksThe above locking systems are only as good as the locks that go with them.  All of these devices have some type cam lock or padlock.  These Cargo Locks should be high security and patented.  This will provide both physical security and key control.  Padlocks from Big Box stores are not a high security lock as they don’t offer key control.  I have discussed key control in past articles and blogs, briefly, if you can take your key to any store and have it duplicated you DO NOT have key control.

There is more effort being placed on the security of Trailers and Containers.  New style locks have RFID built in.  Electronic locks are being deployed.  Tracking tags are getting additional electronic tracking capability.  GPS devices are being used.

No matter what is being used, the rear trailer door should be locked and the trailer should be secured from moving unless authorized.

Locking Systems International is an Authorized Service Center and Manufacturer and all types of locks including Cargo Locks.

 

CobraLock Padlocks … You Choose Your Security Level

Not all locks are created equal and that holds true for CobraLock Padlocks. You can purchase padlocks from $1.50 all the way up to $150.00 per padlock. So what is the difference?   In the example above the padlocks will range from mechanical to electronic and from small to large padlocks.

Choosing Cobra PadlocksThere are many other considerations when choosing a padlock such as; what is the padlock size, how large is the shackle, what material is the padlock body and shackle made of, and what type of lock cylinder does the padlock have. The first three concern the physical security of the padlock. The last item, the lock cylinder, is one of the most important yet one of the most overlooked.

If the lock cylinder is not secure it could be subject to picking, pulling or other forms of attack. CobraLock has come up with a very unique and patented padlock that allows the user to choose their level of security.  This was accomplished by manufacturing a padlock body that accepts standard lock cylinders.  As the security level of the lock cylinder increases so does the price of the padlock.

Lock Cylinders:

User-Changeable CobraLock Padlocks

Hardened Security

Some of the lock cylinders that the CobraLock Padlock accepts are Cobra7, CobraMatic7, Abloy and Medeco Lock Cylinders.  All of these are protected by U.S. Patents and when combined with the CobraLock Padlock the complete Padlock becomes patented.

When choosing a padlock lock cylinder consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (the shed in your backyard or the back of a delivery truck)?
  • What will the padlock secure (lawn equipment or a truck full of electronics)?
  • Will the padlock be indoors or outdoors?
  • Type of “Key Control” that you require?

When buying padlocks you should consider the following:

  • Where will the padlock be used (indoors or outdoors)?
  • What size should the padlock be?
  • What should the padlock body and shackle be made of?
  • What size (length and diameter) should the shackle be?
  • What type of lock cylinder should be used?

Changeable CobraLock PadlocksWhen you walk into the “Big Box Stores” to purchase a padlock you will be given a wide choice of different size padlocks.  You will be able to go through the list above and find a padlock to meet your needs, that is everything except the most important, the lock cylinder.  You will have a limited choice of different key codes (lock cylinders) to choose.  There is a very good chance that many people will have the same key to open the brand new padlock you just purchased.

So remember, when purchasing a padlock, think about the lock cylinder, without YOU controlling the key codes you can’t control your security. The CobraLock Padlocks provide a unique way for you to control your security.

For additional information about CobraLock Padlocks contact Locking Systems International.

Key Codes — Are Yours Secure?

What are Key Codes? They are the numbers that come with the lock that you just purchased. They contain information that identify the pinning sequence in the lock and in turn provides the information necessary to cut a key. For example, suppose you take your house key into a big box store to get more keys made. The store clerk will identify the type of key you have (the lock manufacturer), then he will either duplicate the key or use the number stamped on the key to make new ones.

Key Codes - High Security

Now, if you read the above paragraph again you will notice that you are never asked for your identification, meaning anyone can take your key and have another one made. In other words, there is no accountability and hence no Key Control.

With high security locks, the key code is registered to you and that information is put into a database program that tracks your codes. The key code is usually blind, this means that by looking at the code you cannot get information on how the lock is pinned or how to cut a duplicate key. The blind code is matched with a pinning code which has all the information.

Key Codes:

  • Used to identify the pinning sequence of the lock
  • Used to cut duplicate keys
  • High security locks require identification before keys are cut
  • High security lock codes are registered to the end user
  • Blind codes do not give away the pinning and cutting information
  • High security codes are maintained in a secure database

Key Codes - Control

Convenience vs Security:

The locks that you buy at hardware stores or big box stores offer convenience in a mid-security level, this might be OK for most people. However, always ask yourself what are you trying to protect or lock and if that is valuable is it worth a little inconvenience.

You can’t buy high security locks at hardware stores or big box stores. They are purchased at Locking Systems International, an approved service center. We will sell you the hardware and then register the lock code to you. We will also provide you with the secure lock code and a way for you to use it if necessary. We will also secure that code into a database where it will not be assigned to anyone else.

So, are your lock codes secure, do you even know where those code are? Maybe it’s time to look at your locks, count your keys and decide if it’s time to get a higher security lock.

For additional information contact us at Locking Systems International or our store LsiDepot.

Custom Locks — Built To Your Specifications

Before I explain the benefits of Custom Locks, let me explain the difference between custom locks and standard “Off the Shelf Locks”.  When you walk into a big box hardware store and purchase a door lock or padlock, those are standard locks.  When you contact a lock “Service Center like Locking Systems International, you get the opportunity to have the locks assembled to your exact specifications, these are custom locks.

Changeable Cabinet Locks-Patented Key ControlWhen you purchase custom locks, you get the ability to determine the security level, decide if you want them keyed alike or keyed different and the number of keys you want cut.  Once all of the options are considered “Our Assemblers” will put your order together using lock parts.  One of the most important advantages is that we will registered the keys to you, meaning that you will have the only keys to open your locks.  When you buy locks from big box stores the keys are very likely to repeated.  This means that someone else will have the same keys that you do.

Benefits of Custom Locks:

  • Choose the exact number of locks needed
  • Do you want them keyed alike (one key opens all locks) or keyed different (each locks requires its own key to open)
  • How many total keys
  • Security level (this is directly related to price), the higher the security level the higher the price
  • Registered key and lock codes
  • Choose the finish of the door lock
  • Master keying options (Master keying is where each lock has its own key with the master keys being able to open all locks). Master keying systems are usually registered.

Custom LocksThe choice that you make is convenience over security.  It is very convenient to be able to walk into a big box store, choose your locks and leave and for some applications this is a very good choice.

The decision that you should make before you purchase a lock is “What are you trying to protect”.  If you need a padlock for a storage shed where you keep your lawn mower, then buying that  at a big box store would be acceptable.  On the other hand, if you are buying a lock to put on the front door to your house then you should consider a custom lock; after all, you are protecting the most important thing you have, your family.

Custom locks give you choice and once you choose they are built to your specifications.

Contact us at Locking Systems or LsiDepot for more information on Custom Locks.

Credit Card vs Debit Card

Credit Card vs Debit Card, this has been debated before and there are pros and cons to both types of cards. Let’s take a look at both cards, but before we do, a lot of what is in this article depends on your own self-control. If you can control your use of credit cards then what you read below applies. If you can’t control your use of credit cards or you think of credit cards as cash, then you should lean more towards debit cards in most purchases.

Credit Card vs Debit CardI will start by asking what might be obvious to most: Did you ever wonder why when you open a new checking account the bank falls over itself giving you a debit card? That is because this card is tied directly to your checking account and in some cases you savings account also. The bank makes a large amount of money charging for overdraft protection and on overdraft fees just to name a couple.

When you try and get a credit card you must fill out a credit application and depending on your credit score the issuing bank or financial institution might send you a card. If they do a credit limit will be attached, which means you cannot charge over that credit amount. You will get a bill once a month that should be paid within the terms.

If you have a dispute with a merchant both types of cards offer a way to resolve that dispute. With the debit card the merchant usually already has your money. With a credit card many times the card company will freeze the amount in dispute until resolved. This means that the merchant does not have your money. Let’s say that you charge a vacation through a travel agent and that company goes bankrupt before your vacation begins. With a debit card the money is taken from your account almost immediately the bank will probably put your money back into your account, but it could take some time. With a credit card nothing is taken from your account.

Credit Card vs Debit CardIn the case of your card number being stolen, you are protected with both types of cards, however in the case of a debit card it could be weeks before your money is put back into your account. With a credit card you simply don’t pay those charges. So in the debate of Credit Card vs Debit Card, which is the best for you?

As I said in the beginning of this Blog if you can control your use of credit cards, then professionals would say that they offer you the best protection.

Visit us on-line at Locking Systems International.

Lockable Key Rings Provides Key Control

Lockable Key Rings secure your keys on either a flexible or solid ring.  The ring is locked by a standard type cam lock in an aluminum housing.  The main reason that you use this type of device is Key Control.  I have discussed key control in past blogs; without some type of key control you do not have a secure lock.  Key control is the most important part of a locking system; however, it is often the most overlooked.

Lockable Key Rings-Provides Key ControlKeys are put on the lockable key ring and it is locked preventing removal of the keys unless the lock is opened.  To remove the keys, the key ring lock needs to be opened by authorized personnel with the proper key.  All the keys are held together and cannot be taken off the key ring.  This provides key control as someone can’t “lose” one key.  If the cable is cut that would indicate possible compromise of any locks that those keys open.

The rings come in either flexible stainless steel cable available in 4 different sizes: 6,8,12 and 18 inch or solid stainless cable in 5 different sizes: 1.5,2.5,3,4 and 5 inch.  The lock body is made of aluminum that is covered with a protective polyurethane boot available in 15 different colors.  There is also of choice of locks.

Features of Lockable Key Rings:

  • Available in 4 sizes of flexible stainless steel or 5 sizes of solid stainless steel rings
  • 15 different colors of protective boots
  • Choice of locks
  • Aluminum lock body

Lockable Key RingsThere are a number of locks available to lock the key ring.  The choice of the lock will be dependent on what the keys are securing and the value.  The locks available are from medium security to high security.  They can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed.  It is advisable to key these locks all different or in some cases master keyed.

Type of Locks Available:

  • Cobra 7 (patented protection)
  • CobraMatic 7 (8-change lock)
  • Medeco high security lock
  • Abloy high security lock (environmental protection)

So, where would lockable key rings be used?  Anywhere keys must be controlled.  I will list a few examples of where these are used today.

Possible uses for tamper evident key rings:

  • Vending and laundry routes
  • Military facilities and government agencies
  • Prisons, armored cars and security services
  • Casinos, hospitals and universities

As you can see from the above list, they can be used anywhere that needs a tamper evident key control system to restrict access and prevent unauthorized key removal.

To find out more go to LsiDepot.com or call 800.657.5625.

Utility Locks and Single Bitted Locks

Utility Locks should be very familiar to us, these are locks that are used every day. Some examples of Utility Locks are cabinet locks, locker locks, tool box locks, storage locks and mailbox locks. Utility LocksThese are just a few examples to get you thinking about the uses for these types of locks. One of the biggest examples is the single bitted or SB Cobra locks. These are very inexpensive to manufacture and sell from $2.50 to $3.50 per lock.

SB Utility Lock Features:

  • Usually made of a zinc alloy through a di-casting process
  • Is usually sold with two keys and a locking cam for one low price
  • Is available with a stainless steel cap in different colors
  • Dust cover
  • Can be keyed alike or keyed different
  • Comes in five or six different lengths
  • Cuts are on one side of the key

Cobra Utility LockThe basic design of the SB Utility Lock is a cam lock. However this type of lock can be made into different designs such as cabinet, display case or locker locks. They can also be incorporated directly into many other types of devices made by any manufacturer. An example of this is the “paddle handle” found on the storage (basement) doors on RV’s. The lock is incorporated into the handle itself.

Not all cabinet, locker or storage locks are utility locks. They might have been upgraded to a higher security such as a push button or electronic lock. Most times the actual item will be sold with a traditional mechanical utility lock. The end user then will decide if this is enough security, if not most items can be upgraded to a higher security lock.

As stated earlier cam and utility locks are often used to describe the same lock. This is not accurate as cam locks are a complete lock category to themselves. They have many different designs and security levels all the way to electronic cam locks. Cam locks can be used as utility locks, however some utility locks cannot be used in the place of a cam lock.

Cobra Utility Group LocksI think that in the security industry you will find many different terms that mean the same thing. I don’t think that this is meant to confuse the consumer, but it is an industry that has gone through many different versions of the same lock, sometimes identifying them by different names. In many instances this is done for marketing purposes to show a new lock (that looks like the older lock) is better, more secure or for some other reason.

To find out more about these Locks contact Locking Systems International.

Patented Locks-What Are They?

What are Patented Locks and what do they mean to you? The simple answer to that question is it’s a lock that has a patent. This is a very simple answer indeed. There are two patents that a company could win on a product. A design patent is where the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) awarded a design patent on the shape of the product. The second is a utility patent, this is much stronger, and it is awarded on how the product works and functions.

Cobra Patented Locks

Cobra-7 Key

For example, a design patent could be awarded on a key with a square bow (the part you hold), but someone else could design a key with a round bow, effectively going around this design patent. In a utility patent one could be awarded based on how the key fits into the lock and how it interacts with the locking pins. A different design of the key would still violate this patent. This is because in this case how the key works to open the lock was protected, in other words the concept not the design of the key.

In practical everyday use lock manufacturers will design “keyways” which is the way the key fits into the lock and how it interacts with the locking pins. Locks that have these types of patents are typically called high security locks. They offer a high level of key control because the manufacturers are able to control the use and distribution of their key blanks.

So far I have been talking about mechanical locks, electronic locks also provide a very high level of key control and they also have utility patents. However, they are different in that the actual electronic circuit is being protected as well as the concept on how that circuit controls the mechanical part of the lock to open the door. The “key” for an electronic lock could be a card, secret push button code or your fingerprint.

Medeco Patented LocksNot all locks that we use in our everyday lives need to have this level of key control or be called Patented Locks. It all depends on what or who we are trying to protect and how much we are willing to spend. I have blogged about this in the past, but I think that it should be repeated. In the case of a business: how much is business disruption or your products worth? In the case of your home: how much is the protection of your stuff and your family worth?

Only you can answer these questions.

Locking Systems International holds several utility lock patents and sells Patented Locks from our LsiDepot web site. We also represent both Abloy and Medeco, both are holders of many lock patents. Contact us at 800.657.LOCK (5625) or click on one of the links above.

 

Padlock – How to Choose the Right Padlock

This sounds easy. Go to your favorite big box store, find their padlock section, pick out your padlock and pay for it. So how exactly did you choose your padlock, was it the packaging, did you get a BOGO or maybe the packaging said “Strong Indestructible Padlock”. Whatever your decision making process, it was probably based on padlock display and convenience. This is the wrong way to select any type of lock.

Choosing Cobra PadlocksIf you read any of my articles and blogs I have said many times with either choosing a lock or the cost of a lock, “What are you going to protect and how much are they or it worth to you”. Choosing a padlock would be now different. For example, if you are buying one to put on a shed where you keep your lawnmower, then going to a big box store would be the perfect place to buy it.

If, however, you are buying a padlock to put on a storage shed where you might have stored valuables either in dollar value or sentimental value, then a more secure padlock might be the right choice.

Don’t get the wrong impression, there is nothing wrong with padlocks from big box stores. However, you should be aware of what you are buying. Most big box stores order padlocks direct from the manufacturers with certain key codes. For example, at big box stores you might find padlocks packaged in groups of 4,6 or eight padlocks all keyed alike (same key opens all of the locks). Or you might find a letter or number code on the packaging. Just find the packages with that same code and they will be keyed alike. All of this sounds convenient, except someone else can buy a lock with the same code, then their key can open your locks.

Cobra 8200 Padlock Pack

Padlocks Custom Assembled

So, if you decide that the padlock you need should be a higher security, you need to locate an Authorized Service Center, such as Locking Systems International. There you will be able to purchase padlocks that are custom to you. The lock codes will be registered to you; you will be able to buy the exact number of padlocks that you require. You will also be able to purchase a high security or electronic padlock.

So after you ask yourself the “What are you going to protect” question, I hope that this Blog helps you go about choosing your padlock.

For additional information go to LsiDepot.com or Locking Systems International.