The problematic case of Lex Luthor and Kryptonite Locks

bic-biro.jpgThanks to reader JD for a submission to Made By Monkeys – please do keep them coming.

This is one to handle carefully, as it is about the apparent fallibility of a lock design… However, the thieves already know about this because it has long been out in the public domain. Check out this Wired article from 2004 – Twist a Pen, Open a Lock

The products in question are Kryptonite Locks. “Perhaps Lex Luthor had a hand in it…,” says JD. The locks “use an axial pin tumbler, a common cylindrical design used in a wide variety of products,” states Wired.


“A 50-year-old lock design was rendered useless [...] when a brief post to an Internet forum revealed the lock can be popped open with a cheap plastic pen,” begins the report.

“On Sunday, bike enthusiast and network security consultant Chris Brennan described opening an expensive Kryptonite bike lock using a ballpoint pen.”

The team successfully tested Brennan’s claims – a brand new Kryptonite Evolution 2000 was opened within seconds using a cheap biro. Apparently, after briefly modifying the pen’s barrel, the lock could be opened with a single twist…

Read the full story >>

See also: An Engineer in Wonderland – Lock ignorance and a frightening revelation

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2 Comments

  1. December 16, 2009 14:03

    Thanks Meg – good point. I honestly didn’t clock the date (’09.17.04′). Reference to ‘last week’ does become rather misleading, in what is otherwise a still relevant post. I’ll flag the 2004 date more clearly.

  2. meg
    December 16, 2009 13:48

    It maybe worthwhile noting that the quote (which references last week), is from an article dated September 2004.

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