Access Control - Restricted Keys Guide

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 15, 2018

Not all doors, even in larger facilities, can justify using electronic access control. And even for doors that do have electronic access control, many often need to work with mechanical locks.

However, most keys can be easily copied. How do you improve their security?

Restricted or proprietary keys are often overlooked but can be effective in improving security and access control.

Keyways are the part of the lock a key is inserted for use, and the shape of the keyway and the key must match. (For a general guide, see our: Lock Keyways For Access Control Guide.) Restricted keyways are locks and keys fabricated with profiles that are uncommon or proprietary, controlled by the manufacturer and not available for general use.

So for substantial mechanical key systems, like Master Keyed facilities, Restricted Keyways is a complimentary safeguard to electronic access to protect those doors against unauthorized entry from easily duplicated keys or by Bump Keys.

Inside, we explain:

  • Keyway profile variations
  • Why 'Do Not Duplicate' statements are useless
  • Differences between Unrestricted vs Restricted vs Proprietary
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of these approaches
  • Common providers and pricing

*** *** *****, **** ** ****** **********, *** ******* ***** electronic ****** *******. *** **** *** ***** **** ** **** electronic ****** *******, **** ***** **** ** **** **** ********** locks.

*******, **** **** *** ** ****** ******. *** ** *** improve ***** ********?

********** ** *********** **** *** ***** ********** *** *** ** effective ** ********* ******** *** ****** *******.

******* *** *** **** ** *** **** * *** ** inserted *** ***, *** *** ***** ** *** ****** *** the *** **** *****. (*** * ******* *****, *** ***:**** ******* *** ****** ******* *****.) ********** ******* *** ***** *** **** ********** **** ******** that *** ******** ** ***********, ********** ** *** ************ *** not ********* *** ******* ***.

** *** *********** ********** *** *******, ********** ***************, ********** ******* ** * ************* ********* ** ********** ****** to ******* ***** ***** ******* ************ ***** **** ****** ********** keys ** ****** ****.

******, ** *******:

  • ****** ******* **********
  • *** '** *** *********' ********** *** *******
  • *********** ******* ************ ** ********** ** ***********
  • ********* *** ********** ** ***** **********
  • ****** ********* *** *******

[***************]

Keyway ********

********* ***** *** ****** ** ********* *** *********** ******** *** control ** *****. ** *** **** *** *** ****, **** the ********* ****** ** ****** ************ ** ****** **** ***** be ******* *********, *** ******* **** **** ************ **** **** than *** **** ***** ** ******.

** ******* ********, **** ****** *********** ** ********* ****** ******** for ***** ***** *** ****. *** ***** ** *** *** varies ******** ** **** ** **** **** * ******* ***** or **** ** ****. **** *** *****, *** ****** ** profiles *** ***** ** ********* ** ********* ********.

** *** **, **** ** *** **** ****** ******** *** shown *****:

*** *******, *** '*******' (***) ****** ** **** ****** ** the ** *********** ******, *** **** ***-******* ***** ***** **** widespread *** ** *** ****. ******* * **** **** ** a*** ***** ******* * *********** **** ** ** **** ********* **** stopping ** * ******** ***** *** ******** * *** *******.

**** ******** * ****** ** ********: ** ********* ********* **** or ***** ** ** ****, ****** - **** ********* - can *** **** ** ****** ****, ****** *** *********** *** of **** *** ***** *** *********** ****** ******* **** *********.

Restricted ** *********** *******

********** *** **** ** *** *********, ******** ** **** ***** to ** **** *********. ** ******** '**********' ** **** '***********' keyways, ***** *** ************ ***** *** *********** ** ********** *** misuse.

*** ********** ******* *** *******:

  • ************:*** *** *** ************ ** ****** ******** *** *** *******, and ********** ********** ******** *** ************ ** ******.
  • **********: *** *** *** ************ ** ****** ******** *** ******* to * ***, ************** *** ******** ******* ******** *** ***** keys *** ******* ********** ** *** ************. *******, ***** ****** are ******* ** ******* ******* *** **** *** * **** manufacturer, *** ******* ** ******* *** *** ** *** ******* to **** * *** ***** *** *** *** ******* ******* and ****** *********** ******* *** ******** ** * ***** ****** of ******* *********. ** ****, *********** ****** *** **** ******** if ******** *********** **** ***.
  • ***********: ****** **** *********** ********* ***** ** * *** *********, there ** **** *** ****** ****. *********** * ************ ***** up *** ******** **** *** **** *** **** *** ********.

** *******, '*********** **********' ******* *** *** **** ****** *** not ****** *********, *** *** *** **** *********. '**********' ******* are ********* ******* ** **** * *** ********, *** *** manufacturer ***** ****** ***** **** *** *** *** *** *** access ** ***** ****. '************' *** *********** *** ********* ** all, *** *** *** **** ****** *** ****** **** ******* used.

*** ***** ***** ****** **** *** **** ** **** ** these *******:

Common *******

** ******** ** ********** *******, **** ** ****** **** **** one ** * ******* ****** ** ***** *********, **** ***** use ******* **** ****** *** ***** ****.

***** *** **** ****** ******** *** ***** **** ** **** the *********** *** ********** *******. ** ******* **** ****** ****** ******* *** ****** ******* *****, *** *** '*** *' ** *** ****** ** ***** using ************ ******* ***:

***** ******** ******** *** ****, *** ******* ***** *** ********* found ** *****-****** ********** *** *********** *****, ******** ***** *** in ****-******** ***** ** *** ********.

**** ***** ******** ** *** ******, ***** ******* **** ********** by *******, *** *********** ***** *** **** *** **** ** use *** ******** ******* (**+ *****), ****** ********** *** ****** and *** ******* *** ****** ***********. ******* ***** ******* ******* brand ***** **** '****', '*******', *** '*******', ***** ******* *** essentially **** ** ********* ****** *** *** *********** ************ *** blanks **** ** ******.

***** **** *** ****** ***** ************ ******* ***** ********. *** example, *** **** *** ****** *** *******, *** **** *** open *** ****. **** ** *** ** *** *-*** *********** of *** ***** ****** *** *-*** ******** ** ***. ** while *** ******** ***** ** *** ******* ** *** ****, they ***** ******* ********* *** ***** *** *********** *** ********** as ********* *******.

DND ********** ****

** * *********** ******** *******, **** ************* ** ***** ******* to ********** *** *********** ** ****** ******* ** ******** ** embossing *** ****** **** '** *** *********' ** '** ************ Copies' ** *** ***** * ************* ********* ** ******** ***** will ****** ** **** * **** ******* ******** ******** **** a ******** *******.

*******, *** ******* ******* **** **** ********: *** '*******' ** frequently *******.

********, *** ********* ** ******* ** ************* ******,*** *** ******* ***** ******(**** ******** ****** **** **********) *** ********* ** ************ *** retail ******.

Common *********

** *** ******, ********** ***/** *********** **** *** ********* **** certain *************:

  • ******:***** ******** ***** *** ** ** ******* ******, ********** **** and ***** *** ********* *** * ********** ******* ** $*** - $*,***.
  • *******:*** *******'* ******* *** ****** ******* *** **********, ******* ** negotiated **** ******* $*** - $*** ***** ** *******.
  • ****: *** ***** ****** ****** ****** ******* *** ***** *******, but ** * ****** ******* **** ********* ** *** **** than $*,*** *** ******.

** *******, ***** *** *** ****** ********** *****, *** *** service ** ******** **** ** *********** **** * ******* ****** of *********.

*********

** *******, ******** ****** ********** ** *********** ******* ***** ** unauthorized ****** ** ***** ** **** *** ********. *** **** does **** ******** *** **** ** ******* *********** ******* *** credentials, ** ****** *** **** ** ******* ***** ******** ********* **** ****** ** *** **** ** ********* * ************ available ********.

**********

*******, *** ***** ******* *** *********. *********, *** ******* ****** of ******** ***** *** ********** ** ****** **** *** *********** keyways ** ******. ******* ** ******* $* ** **** *** a *** *** ** * ***** *****, ** *** **** 10X **** ****** *** **** ****.

********* ** *** **** ** ******* *** ************* ***** *** a ***** ****** ** ********* ********* **** *** ********* ***** to ******** ********** ********** **** * *********** **** **** *** range **** ******* ******* ** ******* ******** *******. ** *******, the ******* *** ********** ** **** *** ***** ***** *** keyway, *** ****** **** *** ** *** ********* ** **** volumes ******* *** ******** *** ***** ********** *****.

** *******, *** ****** ** ********** ** ******** ******* ********* is ******* ** ****. ******* ** ** ***-**** ******** *** service ***** ** ***** ** ******* *****, ***** * ********** keyway ****** *** ******** ********* ** *** ** * ***, and ******** *********** ***** **** ****** *** ****** *** **** days ** *****.

******* ******** * ********** ****** ******* ** **** **** *** maintained *** *******, *** ** *** ******** *********** *** ******** of *** **** *** ***** ** ** *** ****'* ******.

[**** **** *** ********** ******* ** **** *** ************* ******* in ****.]

Comments (8)

Electronic access control uses a similar concept to this one: "Facility Codes"

In general, the credential must have the right facility code in order to be approved for scanning by the reader.

In the same way as a key may not fit into a lock because of keyway mismatch, the credential cannot be read because the code doesn't match.

Considering the uselessness of DND warnings, is there any value in using high tech to manage the low? By restricting or at least tracking token usage by using devices like these?

Yes, if you are using keys which are not possible to copy (restricted or proprietary).

Seems like more trouble than it's worth since all but the most expensive locks can be picked relatively quickly. And the existence of this guy: http://www.qtactical.com/easy-entrie-key-machine/

Important doors simply shouldn't be left unmonitored.

Apparently now you can make bump keys for proprietery locks just by taking a picture of the keyhole.

Many lock makers carefully trademark or patent their key blank designs and prevent them from being sold to anyone outside a small group of verified customers. But with the advent of 3D printing, those restrictions can’t stop lockpickers from 3D printing their own blanks and filing them into bump keys

Most "high security" Kennedy's have a 3D element that is not seen from the 2D profile. For Schlage there is a unique side bar profile. With Medeco it's cut angles per pin.

We are a large Medeco dealer and you can buy cylinders for a fraction of what you descirbe (I/C core, mortise, etc.) and you can retrofit the cylinders into most 3rd party hardware. I don't see how you came up with those dollar amounts? We can install cylinders in an entire office with a lot of keys for that. Of course if you want the best lock you can get in a truly restricted & patented keyway then it is going to cost more but not by a large margin. Each dealer has their own keyway which matches their locks. You have to go to your dealer to get any keys. It's not like you are locking the customer into coming to you and only you so you can gouge them all along the way. They buy into the system knowing their keys are secure and that is why they do it.

As for the time it takes for a key, anybody can walk in our store who has permissions to have keys cut and have them cut on the spot OR pay a delivery fee and have them dropped off within 24 hours or so. Others may have longer lead times but it doesn't take any longer than cutting a regular key. Obviously you cant walk into Home Depot and have it cut. The key machines are specialized for the patented keyway.

Also there is a difference between a restricted keyway and a restricted high security cylinder. Restricted is just that it doesn't say anything about being pick or drill resistant. High security add another level. They may have angled cuts and specially constructed pins to prevent this. I personally have never seen anybody pick a high security Medeco or Mul-T-lock cylinder. Hardware like this is just in a different class than anything else and you are paying a premium for the technology and advanced construction of this hardware. If you took apart your regular Schlage lock/cylinder vs. a high security one there is no comparison.

Physical security will never go away. Cameras and access control don't matter if I can pick a lock or physically defeat a lock in seconds. The alarm goes off and the cameras record my mask and then you are on your way with what you came for.

Many times there is no damage or break in whatsoever since the person came right in with a key that may have been duplicated or stolen since there are so many copies around.

Do yourself a favor and invest in a high security restricted system.

My budget for locks jumped a ton once I showed in hand how quick it is to zip a lock, with that, so did my budget for lock bypass tools and tooling to make prototypes for bypasses. I cant tell you how many cores I took a part that had master wafers in locks that shouldn't of ever had them.

And the locksmith who likes to keep the code cuts on hand incase "you lose your keys" while driving their branded trucks to your office.

All it takes is their truck to get broken in till your key is out there with you address attached to it.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
Last Chance - Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Jan 10, 2019
Today is the last day to register for the Winter 2019 IP Networking course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
NTP / Network Time Guide For Video Surveillance on Jan 10, 2019
Inaccurate time can lead to missing or inadmissible video, yet this topic is often overlooked, with cameras and servers left defaulted,...
Wavelynx Access Control Manufacturer Profile on Jan 10, 2019
Denver-based WaveLynx is not well known as an access reader manufacturer, but OEMs for big industry brands including Amag, Isonas (Allegion),...
UK: Private Video Surveillance Complaints Down Since GDPR on Jan 09, 2019
The arrival of the GDPR on May 25, 2018, brought fears the law would spark a massive increase in privacy complaints about security camera use....
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
2019 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Jan 07, 2019
Each year, IPVM summarizes the main advances and changes for video surveillance cameras, based on our industry-leading testing and...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
2019 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 14, 2019
The new IP Networking Book 2019 is a 285 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact