The Most Secure Lock Ever? (Hint: Nope)

By Brian Rhodes, Published Dec 03, 2014, 12:00am EST

High security locks are big business, but even the most advanced examples are vulnerable to simple exploits.

Now, a new lock from a small Taiwanese company claims to be 'incapable of exploitation". And sure enough, the design is so exotic, it does not resemble other locks:

But does this lock really have what it takes to be a commercial success? We examine in this note.

Product Overview

The reseller's demo video below is quite informative. The reviewer does a good job describing the product and the 'high security' features it contains:

Key Features

Among the major claims that contrast Xpuzmag from other locks are:

Unpickable

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Usually locks have one keyway to pick. Xpuzmag essentially has 23, exponentially adding difficulty to traditional lock picking methods. Of the 23 pins available, only 6 are active, but mistakenly depressing an inactive pin adds a new barrier. Simultaneously depressing the right pins to the proper length without also confusing it with inactive pins is a tall order, and essentially not a risk.

Bump Proof

Likewise, 'bumping the lock', or vibrating all the pins to the right shear line and twisting it open, is not a likely risk either. With 23 potential pins, simply moving the right 6 without disturbing the other is very unlikely, much less aligning them to the proper depth at the same time.

Highly Complex Bitting

Not only is the key a random combination of 6 out of 23 pins, the depth of the pins vary to 5 places. This results in tens of thousands of potential combinations even if the correct 6 pins are known.

Cost

At $125 per lock, Xpuzmag is already on the cheaper side of high-security locks that can cost $200 or more. However, the $125 also includes an adjustable latch bolt, trim strike plates, and six 'precut' keys.

Drawbacks

However, the lock carries with it some big issues that will keep it a novelty and nothing more. The big ones:

  • Huge Keys: The design of the lock makes the key so big, it cannot simply be crammed into a pocket. It is huge, really. Ping-pong ball sized diameter or bigger makes carrying on key a chore, much less multiple keys on a ring.
  • Difficult to Turn: If inserting a normal key into a single keyway is tough, getting Xpuzmag lined up correctly might be impossible. The precision required mean those with subprime eyesight or dexterity impairment will have tremendous trouble.
  • Lockouts: Standard practice when you forget or lose a key typically means calling a locksmith to pick open your door, or even hitting a kiosk to have replacement keys made. Xpuzmag users can forget all that. No locksmith will be familiar with the lock enough to open it, much less cut a key for it. Replacement keys must be ordered from the vendor. If a locked-out user needs in, they are likely faced with breaking a door or window.

Even if commercial users were willing to accept the relative risk of using the product from a small, unproven vendor, the logistical problems in using and keeping keys doom it.

The Name

Door hardware is dominated by huge companies with long histories. However, the 'Xpuzmag' lock harkens from a new company named Ever Dignity Industry based in Asia, that describes the name as an amalgam for 'X' and 'puzzle' and 'magic':

 UPDATE: Lock Already Exploited 

A reader pointed out the following video, where a well-known member of the 'locksport' community has already picked the lock:

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