Archive for Padlocks

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.

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.

Home Automation – How Much Is Too Much?

Is it home automation or home invasion?  Before this became popular, home automation was done by a few companies that specialized in it or it was a DIY for the home owner.  In either case the home owner owned and controlled the system.

home automationToday everyone wants to get into home automation, your phone and cable company, cell phone provider, alarm system company and many others.  They all offer the same services: the ability to control things in your home through your smartphone or tablet.

I recently saw a TV commercial from my cable company showing how you could control or monitor things like your heat or air conditioner, an open door or window, garage door, what about the water, do you have a water leak in your laundry room, how about your hot water heater is it leaking, these are just a few thing that can be monitored.  What the commercial failed to say was that to monitor just the above items, all your windows and doors will have to be wired, sensors will have to be installed on your water heater and in your laundry room, you will have to get new thermostats and new fixtures for your sinks, showers and tubs.

So let’s say that you wanted this and had all the modifications made to your home, great, now you can control and monitor all those things from anywhere in the world.  I hope that this gives you peace of mind, but…let’s look at the dark side.

Whoever is providing the monitoring service for you will know what time you leave the house and what time you return.  How long did you stay in the shower this morning, what is your air or heat set to, how many times you do laundry, and how much electric do you use.  I think that you can see that for everything you have monitored that data will be stored somewhere and if it is stored it can be accessed…think NSA.

Now let’s talk about your cell phone or tablet that controls all of this home automation, are they secured, do you have internet security software installed and updated, do you have a plan ready in case you lose one.  What will you do if a bad guy steals your cell phone and now has the keys to your kingdom?

I am not saying that home automation is a bad thing, but sometimes we can take things too far too fast.  Slow down and think about what you really want.

For more information visit LockingSystems.com.

Environmental Padlocks — Extreme Weather Padlocks

Extreme Weather PadlocksNot all padlocks function well in bad weather, think freezing temperatures, or salt air and water.  As the weather turns very extreme most “off the shelf” padlocks will fail to open or function properly.  So, is the solution to purchase very expensive padlocks?  The simple answer is no; however, Extreme Weather Padlocks that are designed to operate in extreme conditions tend to be priced higher than standard off the shelf padlocks.

Let’s take a look at what makes an Extreme Weather Padlocks:

  • Most are built out of high quality brass that is usually chrome plated
  • Hardened steel shackles available in different lengths
  • Protection of the lock cylinder
  • No pins or springs in the lock cylinder
  • Patented keyways and keys (this will provide the “high-security label)

Most padlocks operate by the key pushing the locking pins in an upward direction until they reach the “Sheer” line and the lock opens.  Springs provide a downward force on the pins.  This means of operation is fine for most normal weather conditions; however, when it turns extreme, the pins and springs can freeze or get dirt or other debris in the pin chambers.  When this happens the padlock jams and will no longer function.  This is when you see people heating their locks with a torch or squirting a solvent in the lock cylinder in an attempt to clean it out.

Extreme Weather padlocksExtreme Weather Padlocks do not have locking pins or springs.  They operate on a “disc rotating principle”.  The locking pins are replaced by discs; no springs are used or needed.  When the special key is inserted into the lock and turned the discs rotate to the open position determined by the cuts in the key.  These locks do not have individual pin cylinders; instead all of the discs are positioned on a sleeve.  This is the reason why extreme weather conditions do not have the same effect of these padlocks as they do on regular padlocks.

Most Extreme Weather Padlocks  have keyways that are protected by a patent.  This is so the keys can be controlled and sent to Locking Systems International to be cut and controlled to the end user.  These Extreme Weather Padlocks are referred to as “high or maximum security padlocks”.  They are not available from the big box stores and are only available from Locking Systems International who is under contract with the manufacturer.  As stated above, they cost more than standard padlocks, but in return you get a high quality padlock.

For additional information please contact us at 1.800.657.LOCK (5625) or LockingSystems.com.

Credit Card Security – What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

We have all heard the news concerning the theft of credit card information from 70 million customers of a large retailer.  This is not the first time this has happened, other companies have been compromised.  It won’t be the last either.  The bad guys are very good at what they do and they won’t stop.  So what is “Credit Card Security” and what can you do to protect yourself?

Credit Card SecurityUnder Federal law a company must notify its customers when it learns of a credit card security breach and the extent.  Many companies will provide free credit monitoring for a certain period of time if you have been compromised.  If you have been notified that your credit or debit card has been stolen you should immediately call your credit card company or bank and ask them cancel that card and issue another one.  Then you should set up your credit monitoring and check it often.

Above is an example of massive theft, but you should also be aware of day to day ways that your credit or debit card information can be stolen.

  • Gas stations-“skimmers” are used to steel your credit or debit card numbers
  • Restaurants-when your server takes your card for payment they will usually go somewhere outside of your sight
  • ATMs-skimmers are also used along with someone who will visually try and get pin number

Those are just a few ways to get you thinking.  If your card is stolen, the bad guys can go on to compromise your identity “Identify Theft”, which is very serious.  With your card, they have your name, they can go to social media and find out where you live, your address and all kinds of other information.

Shopping on-line is actually safer, because your card is never out of your control, you never give it to someone, and all your card information is encrypted from your computer to the card processor.  You should also consider using a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping on line.  With a debit card the merchant has your money from your account, in most cases, before you even get the product.  If there is a problem you can contest it, but it might be a while before you see that money in your account again.  With a credit card if you put something into dispute you don’t pay that bill until the credit card company investigates.

If you feel that your ID has been stolen you should consider putting a “Credit Freeze” on your credit with all three credit agencies.  You can find information on their web sites.

Experian-888.397.3742

Equifax-888.766.0008

TransUnion-877.322.8228

For additional information call 800.657.LOCK (5625) or visit www.lockingsystems.com.

What is Key Control — What Does Key Control Mean to You?

In some of the past articles that I have written you have seen me mention Key Control.  What is this and why is it important to you?  We must discuss Key Control in the context of lock security Lockable Key Rings-Provides Key Controlas they go together.  So, if you have your key in your hand you have control of your key and therefore you have Key Control right?  No that’s wrong.

Physical control is only one part of Key Control, there are many others such as:

  • Is the key protected by a U.S. Patent?
  • Do you know how many keys were cut?
  • Do you know where all your keys are?
  • Can you have more keys made—if so, where?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself.  Let me give a practical example that drives home the Key Control point.

Let’s say that you keep your house key attached to your car key ring, or maybe you keep your house key in the glove compartment of your car.  If you valet park your car or maybe take it in for repair, you turn your keys over to someone.  There is the possibility that someone can take your house key, walk into any Big Box Store and get the key duplicated.  When you get your car back all your keys are right where you left them.  The problem is that now someone has a copy of your key and they know where you live.  Sounds bad—it is!

Super48 Key-Bak Key Reel-Provides Key Control

Retractable Key Rings

Try this test, take your house key and walk into any Big Box Store.  Ask them to make you another key.  They will take your key and duplicate it.  No questions asked.  Look at all the key blanks they have that match the profile of many keys.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Make sure the lock and key that you purchase are protected by a U.S. Patent. Yes, this will cost more to purchase but how much is your family’s safety worth.
  • Purchase your new lock and key from someone that will register your key codes to you.
  • You should not find these key blanks at Big Box Stores.
  • You will have to show identification before having additional keys cut.
  • Account for all your keys, if 5 keys were originally cut you should know where all 5 are and who has them.

Changeable Cabinet Locks-Patented Key ControlWas this Blog meant to scare you?  Yes it was.  It was also written to make you aware that all locks and keys are not created equal.  Any security professional will tell you that “Key Control” is one of the most important parts of the security of the lock.

So now that you know what Key Control is, what are you going to do about it?  Call us at 800.657.LOCK (5625) or www.LsiDepot.com.

RV Security Protect Your Mobile House

It seems that when we hook up our RV and head out for a week of camping we forget all of the things that keep us safe at our homes and everyday lives. You have to remember that your RV is actually your mobile house. When you arrive at the campground and set it up you are in your house. Most of this RV Security is just common sense stuff that we practice every day.

RV Security Locks for your RVRV Security to Keep in Mind:

  • Make sure that all your locks work properly including your storage locks
  • Lock the doors when leaving your RV
  • If you don’t feel comfortable when you arrive at the camp ground find another one
  • If your site doesn’t make you feel secure ask for another one
  • If you have a Motor Coach take your ignition keys when you leave or at least don’t leave them in the ignition
  • If you are towing a Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel keep your vehicle locked
  • If you are towing a small vehicle keep it locked

These are just some of the common sense stuff that if you practice your camping experience will be a much safer one.

Always keep a watch over your children, know where they are. Most campgrounds have pools or are near lakes or rivers. Never leave them alone near any body of water. Most of this is just stuff that we do every day; however, when we go camping we sometimes forget that all the rules that apply in our everyday lives should also apply when we are camping.

Cobra7 RV Lock for RV Security

Cobra-7 Tubular Lock

RV storage is also something that we should consider. If you store your RV at your house keep it locked. Instead of keeping a window open for air circulation keep a roof vent open. If you store your RV at a storage facility find one that is fenced and has some type of security gate. Security cameras would be a great plus. Again keep your doors and storage compartments locked and a roof vent open. Consider an alarm system with an internal video monitoring system. Many RV’s have sky lights, these are mode of plastic that can be easily cut open. You should go by and check your RV as often as possible.

Also consider changing your locks if possible. I am on my third RV and all of them use the same key for the storage compartments. This didn’t give me a great sense of security.

Always remember that your RV is your mobile house practice good RV Security.

For additional information please call 800.657-LOCK (5625). or visit us at LsiDepot.com.

RV Lock-How Many People Have Your Keys

You just purchased your new RV, Motor Home, Fifth Wheel or Camper Trailer; you take it home, put all your stuff in it and start off on your first trip.  Now let’s consider the one thing that people forget: the RV locks.  All RV’s have an entry door and storage compartments, the bigger the RV the more storage compartments. Now for the problem and how I discovered it.

RV Locks for your RVI recently went looking at motor homes.  As the salesman walked us through the lot, we walked in and out of new and used motor homes.  We opened the storage compartments and the front entry doors.  Somewhere in this process I realized that the salesman was using one key to open all the entry doors and another key to open all the storage compartments.  He carried no more than a half dozen keys.

After some research I discovered that most RV manufacturers buy their locks from just a few lock manufacturers that specialize in RV locks and locks mechanisms.  So, what should you do to make sure that your “House on Wheels” is secure?  The first and most important thing is to get the front entry door changed or call a locksmith and get it rekeyed.  Next, come up with systems to secure the storage compartments.  There could be 10 or more storage doors on some RV’s all having a RV lock.  That’s why I said earlier to come up with a system so you don’t have to carry around a dozen or more keys.

Below is a RV Lock system that you might consider.

  • Master Key the storage doors. This is where all the doors will have a separate key, but there will be one Master Key that opens all the doors.
  • Master Key the left side of the RV and the right side with different master key systems. In this case you will have to carry only two keys.
  • Keyed Alike: With this system you can have all the locks open with the same key or you can group doors, such as the left side opens with one key the right side with the other.
Cobra7 RV Lock

Cobra-7 Tubular Lock

The important thing is to come up with a RV Lock system.  I would prefer the Master Key System, this way when you take the RV in for service you could leave the keys for the storage doors that have serviceable items and keep the other securely locked.

For additional information please go to LsiDepot.com.