How locks, including the unpickable Enclave lock, work

27 June 2022

The Enclave lock, designed by Andrew Magill, comes with the claim that it cannot be picked. This might be the news the security conscious have been waiting for.

Some locks are more difficult to pick than others. Some have more perfect tolerances, or more positions, or keyways that are more difficult to fit tools into, or parts that move in unusual ways, or parts designed to mislead pickers, and so on. But these are only incremental improvements, and don’t address the fundamental flaw. The solution is to make it so that the two steps- accepting input, and testing that input- can never happen at the same time. When those two steps cannot interact with each other, a well-designed lock will never reveal information about the correct positions of its individual parts, nor can they be made to ‘fall into’ their unlocked positions through manipulation.

Watch the video clip for the Enclave lock though. As well as demonstrating Magill’s new lock, it also shows how conventional locks work. Quite fascinating.

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