How to break out of police grade handcuffs using paperclips, coffee straws, and other tools

Physical security can range from door to mobile locks such as padlocks and handcuffs. I have posted about picking door locks in the past HERE. My next project is researching breaking out of handcuffs. To do this, I have purchased a pair of double lock police grade steel handcuffs and researched how escape artists break out of them.

Common handcuffs work by moving a rounded ridged bar into a system that engages a ratchet with ridges that prevent the handcuffs from opening. The ridges permit moving the teeth in the closing direction via a downward slant however prevent moving back when the ridges are engaged. To open the handcuffs, a key pushes the ridges inside the handcuffs down to permit the ridged bar to slide back out. Continue reading

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Does Your Alarm Have a Default Duress Code?

Brian Kerbs on his website Kerbs on Security writes a great article on how alarm systems can have a distress code

Sometimes it takes a security scare to help improve your overall security posture. Case in point: Over the holidays, I learned that our alarm system — one of the most widely used home security systems in America — contains a default code that disables the alarm. Although entering this code simultaneously alerts the police that an intruder is in the house, it also could give thieves just enough time to get away with your valuables without alerting the neighbors. Continue reading

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Building a Active Identity HID Global Two-Factor Card Authentication Lab : ActivID CMS Overview


Many of our customers are investing in multi-factor authentication solutions. The multi-factor industry offers a range of options such as physical cards, certificates and tokens that represent “Something you have” mixed with a pin, password or security phase that is “Something you know”. A upcoming multi-factor technology is biometrics representing “Something you are” however its not as common as having and knowing something. DoD has standardized on Common Access Cards or CAC while civilian agencies tend to use Personal Identification Verification or PIV cards for accessing systems and secured areas. Both card solutions use similar smart card technology however things like the Certificate Authority and what is printed on the cards are different between organizations. Continue reading

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Lock Picking Tools : How Much Skill Do You Really Need? Bump Keys, Lock Picks, Lock Guns

lock pickingLock picking tools have made lots of noise with the theme “anybody can use lock picking tools to break into your house”. There are segments about lock picking on popular TV news shows, movies (example The Next Three Days) and websites scaring people like my Mom who called me after seeing something like this (news example HERE). For more information on lock picking, go to a older post found HERE. Continue reading

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Locks Keep the Honest People Out: How the Bad Guys Break In | lock picking.

People lock their doors at night and feel protected from criminals. The scary thing most people are not aware of is locks are easy to bypass with inexpensive tools. You may think these tools are hard to obtain however I watch lock pick kits sellout at security conferences each year with attendance in the thousands. If you search the Internet for terms like “lock picking, bump keys or impressioning” you’ll find hundreds of results including video tutorials. It’s not hard for criminals to break into doors and safes. In most cases, they can do it in under a minute without leaving behind evidence the average users will notice.

Inside a common lock
lock picking Continue reading

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