Archive for Locks

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.

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 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.

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

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.




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

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

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

Changeable Lock Codes By the End User

Changeable lock codes are available on cam locks, vending locks and padlocks.  These locks come with eight code changes and are totally mechanical.  For example, if you lose your key for the padlock on your storage unit or something else valuable that you are securing, you would have to purchase a new padlock.  However with these new locks you could change the lock code yourself to a new code with a new key in seconds without taking the lock off whatever it is securing.

Changeable Lock CodesThe CobraMatic Changeable Lock Codes are numbered from 1-8 on the face of the lock.  When you purchase them you should ask for keys for code one and code two, you will also get what is called a “Change Key”.  If additional keys are needed for the unused codes you can call Locking Systems International for additional Changeable Lock Codes.

As you look at the lock face there is no outward indication as to what the current code is set to.  You will only see the numbers 1-8 going in a clockwise direction.  Changing the code is done by the end user and is very simple:

  • Insert your change key into the lock pointing it to the current code, then turn the change key to the new lock code.
  • The code can be set to any number from 1-8 in any direction.
  • For example you can go from 1 to 3 or from 7 to 2.
  • Once you turn the change key to the new code your old user key will no longer operate the lock and you will use the new user key.
  • Old codes can be reused again many times.
  • The change key is only used to change the code; it will not operate the lock.
Changeable lock codes

Patented Cam Locks Custom Built

You can see this is a very easy procedure.  It is like buying 8 locks for the price of one.  In this article I won’t go into the technical details of how this operation occurs internally within the lock.  I wanted to explain the ease of changing the lock code by the end user.  With these locks when there is a lost key or other security breach you can be secured again in a matter of minutes.

Each series of locks have their own registered codes and for that reason they will be found at Locking Systems. They will be able to cut the exact number of keys needed and help with any operational questions.

For additional information please contact us at:

Padlocks-Mechanical to Electronic

When you think Padlocks you probably picture a rectangular piece of metal with a loop on top. Today there are so many types of padlocks that it would be impossible to discuss them all in this article. My purpose here is to give some understanding of the many types of padlocks and what they do. When you purchase a padlock the first thing that you must consider is what you are going to protect and how much is that worth to you.

User-Changeable Lock Core Padlock

Hardened Security

Once you answer that question it’s time to choose your padlock. Here are the major components:

Padlock Body: This can be made of many different materials from plastic to hardened steel. It can be as small as a luggage padlock up to, well, any size. The body can take any shape such as round or square. The two most popular types of padlocks are made out of brass or steel.

Let’s look at these two:

  • Brass bodies are best used near water or high moisture areas
  • Brass bodies might be plated in nickel, which might make you think that it is steel
  • Steel bodies are either hardened steel or the popular lamented plates
  • Locking balls should be used for strength, these are located where the shackle goes into the body, when locked these steel balls engage the shackle to provide locking on either side
Hockey Puck Padlock

Hardened Solid Steel

Shackle: The shackle comes in many different lengths and thicknesses. It can be made of different materials. The shackle is normally made of hardened steel. This is done to increase the cutting strength. Also, the larger the diameter of the shackle the harder it is to cut. When choosing a shackle, choose the shortest length to do the job. For example if you choose a two inch shackle where a one inch shackle would do the job, you are leaving one extra inch for someone to cut or attack.

Lock Cylinder: The lock cylinder can be anything from a single bitted mechanical lock all the way to the highest security electronic lock. You are probably thinking that you don’t have a choice, you go into a big box store pick out a padlock and you get whatever lock cylinder it comes with. That is true with big box store padlocks. However by contacting a Padlock Service Center you can get a padlock custom made with whatever lock cylinder you need.

As I stated earlier the most important decision is what are you going to protect and how much is that worth to you.

Abloy PadlocksIf we can help you with your selection of Padlocks please contact us at Buy Padlocks on Line


Medeco Locks

The Medeco Lock Company is a member of the ASSA-Abloy Security Group, a global lock and security Company. Founded in 1968, Medeco manufactures high security locks at its U.S. manufacturing facility in Salem, Virginia. Medeco makes locks such as cam locks, padlocks and door locks, sold into wholesale and retail markets.

Medeco M3 Vending Lock with KeySo what makes Medeco Locks High Security? There are a number of reasons, but the most important are their keys and keyways which are patented in the United States and Worldwide. This patented protection controls the keys. They also use different keyways in different industries, this keeps their industrial and door locks separated. Medeco uses Locking Systems International an Authorized Service Center to help them control keys and lock codes in their industrial business.

Medeco Locks are designed so that when the key is inserted into the lock it lifts and rotates the pins which line up to a shear line and sidebar. The pins on the sidebar will then line up and enter the holes in the pins allowing the lock to open. The pins are not evenly spaced which makes picking extremely difficult. This design is known as their Biaxial® Keyway. They were able to carry this concept throughout all of their lock lines, allowing for integrated locks. For example, a key for a door lock could also be used for padlocks or even cam locks. This design also greatly expanded their master keying capability.

In 2003, Medeco came out with a new design, the Medeco3 or M3. This added a new dimension called the slider. This slider must be positioned properly by the key for the lock to open. This added a third locking point and also allowed for the keys to be thicker and therefor a lot stronger. Also, this slider allows for an even larger master system by the position of the slider notch on the key.

Medeco inserts hardened roll pins in the face of their locks to increase drill resistance. Each of their locks are designed using quality materials to provide for the highest level of physical security. Most of their locks are UL listed.

Medeco XT High Security LockMedeco has recently expanded into electronic locks across their cam lock, padlock and door lock lines. They are using their NexGen design for cam locks, padlocks and SFIC locks. Their door locks are using a few different designs, the most versatile being the M3-CLIC. This allows for mechanical and electronic locks to be used in the same system using the same key to open both.

For additional Information please contact us at Locking Systems International.