"Sheer" doesn't even make any sense in this context: "sheer force" would be twisting the tumbler so hard you break all the pins, and that would not exactly be considered "lock picking"!
What's interesting to me is how pervasive this misspelling has become. A Google search for "lock picking sheer force" finds 17,500,000 matches, but "lock picking shear force" finds only 205,000. I wonder if all these misspellings originated from this MIT guide, or if there was something else before that?
That's not how I read it... The best gloss of "sheer" in this context would be "pure", which would mean something like "force, devoid of any other tool or method". Like, "I moved the rock with sheer force" would imply I just pushed it and didn't use a lever or anything.
(You are correct that it's the wrong word choice, of course; the above is not what the author is meaning to say.)
IANAL, but I did a little research before getting started in lock picking a while back. iirc, there are no federal laws against having picks. However, states often have laws against "possession of burglary tools". In my jurisdiction, if they can establish intent to burglarize -- ie, you're also carrying an empty duffel bag, a crowbar, and a map with the bank circled on it -- its a class II felony.
I repeat; I am not a lawyer.
In the same way you can have a big knife at home but carrying it in your bag is a problem.
I used to carry a similar card. It was a fake credit card that opened up, and had a small set of picks inside. I kept it in my wallet in case I was ever locked out.
In it this very issue is addressed including the advice "It may be a good idea to carry around a xeroxed copy of the appropriate page from your state's criminal code."
That's a line that'll generate hours of debate going nowhere.
Locks are mere tamper-proof seals, lock-picking is the art of breaking into those seals without breaking them.
I have seen a lot of broken locks in my time (I worked in a the bicycle industry). I have also removed quite a lot of locks in my time (the days working in a bike shop).
Thieves just use those big bolt cutters that cost £10 or so and get the job done in seconds. Even the most expensive locks are fair game for this basic approach, the biggest fear is that there is some CCTV somewhere. The amount of 'pin tumblers' makes no difference.
In the bike shop where there is the choice of the bolt-croppers, the oxy-torch, the disc-cutter, the vice, the big hammer and so on one doesn't think for one moment 'oh, I will just download that lock-picking guide off the internet, follow the instructions and be in here in a minute...'. The feature I always found charming was how many bicycle locks have a plastic coating around the cable. This makes it very easy to use a normal saw. The plastic works as a guide meaning the saw does not slip.
Hence, for my own bicycle I use a £4.99 combination number lock for that short shopping trip to town and a £24.99 D-lock for the company bike shed.
Practically, we cannot guarantee the security of our locks, or homes, or cars/bikes, etc. But we erect barriers to help enforce societal norms regarding security and privacy. These can be explicit measures such as door locks and deadbolts, and more holistic things like living in a good neighborhood, meeting your neighbors, preempting the broken windows effect, etc.
The only guarantee, in terms of home security, is a great insurance policy with riders for your major possessions.
Which is why I never understood the Master Lock commercials where they shoot a bullet into the body of one of their padlocks showing how tough it is.
"We need to start attacking disc detainer locks" from Shmoocon:
Nirav Patel's 3D printed DDetainer key:
Guide to Disc Detainer Locks:
But, as to your actual question of "why" there is a lot that goes into it. Henry Robinson Towne is a central figure in particular, but so is the great lock controversy of 1851, which was a watershed moment in how most english-speaking societies dealt with mechanical security ever after.
"I used to be a web developer during the Browser Wars, man ... A veteran, yes. I remember being happy when we could develop for IE7 compatibility ..."
(embellish with stories about getting up at 4am, walking barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, etc. as you see fit)
In this case the patents help prevent unauthorized duplication of "secure" keys.
Richard P Feynman, who, on having picked a certain
lock, complained that "[t]he trouble with playing
a trick on a highly intelligent man like Mr.
Teller is that the time it takes him to figure
out from the moment that he sees there is something
wrong till he understands exactly what happened is
too damn small to give you any pleasure!"
The volume »Surley, You're Joking Mr Feynman!«
contains many, at times only seemingly so, light-hearted
reminiscences in similar spirit.
 Edward Teller (1908, Budapest – 2003),
a Hungarian-US nuclear physicist known colloquially
as "the father of the hydrogen bomb"; see
I have not been able to pick front door locks the same way. Probably need real tools for that. Plus some locks have wards in the way which are harder to deal with when using a fat paperclip.
You can also find Mike Gibson's "Lock Picking: Detail Overkill" which is a great book for starters!
PDF Version for anyone interested.
Plus there getting starting guide:
Of course, its up to personal preference, they are both great brands.
It's easier to just walk into the open bank, masked, and make demands. And there's still a chance to get away with it. A chance, however slim.
I fell out of practice, but whenever I cruise by a hacker space with a lockpick area I will try and take the time to test my abilities. These days lock technology makes some locks very difficult (double-mushroom pins, etc), so I usually can only do the medium difficulty locks.
I had amassed a huge collection of lock/key templates and even some stuff about safecracking, but unfortunately had a hdd crash and lost most of it.
The bottom line with lockpicking, like other things, is that nothing beats practice.
wget -rkp -l3 -np -nH --cut-dirs=1 http://www.blurofinsanity.com/mit/lockpick.html
If on mac os you'll need to brew install wget or follow this tutorial to use curl http://psung.blogspot.com/2008/06/using-wget-or-curl-to-down...
After you've downloaded the website you can run a simple server in a terminal by navigating to where you downloaded the website and running
python -m SimpleHTTPServer
Then navigate to http://0.0.0.0:8000/lockpicking.html in your web browser.
LPT: I do this with coding tutorial sites before getting on planes so I don't waste money buying internet and time browsing other content.
However I really like backing up things and making a local mirror so I'm not going to stop you. I hate it when something interesting like this vanishes from the internet and it turns out no one has a copy.
So I'm hosting a copy of it for you and anyone else that would like to help preserve it. I just downloaded the copy with:
"wget --mirror --page-requisites --no-parent --convert-links --no-parent --wait=5 --random-wait -U "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:126.96.36.199) Gecko/20080404 Firefox/188.8.131.52" -e robots=off --progress=bar --level=8 --referer=$2 $1"
Here's a copy I just put on my server:
I've included a download for it (also hosted on my server) at the top of that page.
It's only 290.5KiB.
All the best and enjoy.
curl "http://www.blurofinsanity.com/mit/chapter[0-9].html" -O http://www.blurofinsanity.com/mit/lockpick.html -O http://www.blurofinsanity.com/mit/appendix.html -O
for i in $(cat * | grep -P "\w+-\w+\.gif" -o | uniq); do
curl http://www.blurofinsanity.com/mit/$i -O
`which python2` -m SimpleHTTPServer
Edit: apparently wget has a magical flag that allows you to download all resources on an HTML page as well. Consider this solution inferior to Ellipsis753's and jamiis's. However, I will leave my reply up since this method is applicable to a lot of other situations as well.
You don't see it anymore though
Found a good picture, here: http://www.gaterslocksmith.com/images/deadbolts/Deadlatch-bu...
Unfortunately, while they have been on the market for a very very long time, not everyone uses them, and many that do use them don't use the proper strike plate for their door, or just allow them to go into misalignment. So, the deadlatch doesn't actually get pushed back when the door is closed, and the latch can be carded as though it weren't even there.