Lock picking

Locksport is the sport or recreation of defeating locking systems. Its enthusiasts learn including lock picking, lock bumping, and a variety of other skills traditionally known only to locksmiths and other security professionals.

Lock picking has existed for as long as locks have, and recreational lock picking has as well. King Louis XVI of France (1754–1793) was a keen designer, picker and manipulator of locks.

Roof and tunnel hacking is the unauthorized exploration of roof and utility tunnel spaces; notes from the MIT Roof and Tunnel Hacking community were made widely available in 1991 as ‘The MIT Guide to Lock Picking.’

However, as an organized hobby, lock picking is a relatively recent phenomenon. The earliest known organized group of lock picking enthusiasts is the German club SSDeV, which was founded by Steffen Wernéry in 1997. Another group was founded in The Netherlands in 1999, originally called NVHS, and currently called TOOOL (The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers).

The term locksport was adopted by lock picking enthusiasts as a way of differentiating what they do from locksmiths, as well as from those who might choose to pick locks for nefarious purposes. As of early 2005, the term had been suggested, but not widely adopted. The creation of the sport group Locksport International in  2005, founded by Josh Nekrep, Kim Bohnet, and Devon McDormand of LockPicking101.com, helped to solidify the term within the community, and today the term is widely adopted in North America. Locksport International is now under the direction of Doug Farre.

At the core of locksport is the philosophical belief in responsible full disclosure. Locksport enthusiasts target security through obscurity that is common within the locksmith industry, as well as among lock manufacturers. Those who choose to participate in locksport often seek to discover security vulnerabilities and notify lock manufacturers as well as, in some instances, the public, in an effort to promote improvements in the field of physical security and to aid consumers in making better, more informed decisions about their own security.

This philosophy is contradictory to that held by many locksmith organizations,mand locksport enthusiasts have come under attack for releasing information about lesser-known vulnerabilities. Nonetheless, locksport enthusiasts persist in discovering weaknesses in all forms of physical security.

Because lock picking is sometimes viewed as a nefarious craft, locksport enthusiasts uphold a very rigorous standard of ethics. The credo of locksports has often been expressed as: ‘You may only pick locks that you own, or that you’ve been given explicit permission to pick by the rightful owner.’

In an effort to keep lock-picking skill away from those who would abuse it, members of locksport groups have zero tolerance for illegal or immoral lock picking, bypass, or other forms of entry. Though the incidence of lock picking for crime is statistically low, locksport enthusiasts feel they must uphold such strict standards to refute the common misconception that they are participating in illegal activities.

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