Know the Threats
Standard euro cylinders -
like an open door to a thief.
There are many techniques that can be used to compromise the standard euro cylinder locks that are fitted to most uPVC and composite doors. Lock manufacturers like UAP and Yale are constantly developing features within their locks that will combat such threats, like Lock-Snapping and Lock-Bumping.
For your benefit, we describe these and other vulnerabilities below. We hope that it provides you with a better understanding of the seriousness of the threat and how a quiality product can offer your home protection.
What is Lock-Snapping?
This method involves simply snapping the cylinder in two and removing the outside part. Doing so would provide access to the mechanism and allow the door to be unlocked.
The euro cylinder has an inherent weak point in it's design; the cutout area near the centre of the cylinder that provides space for the revolving cam to engage with the doors locking mechanism. The area of cylinder under the cutout if further weakened by a threaded hole through which the fixing bolt is screwed.
Vulnerable Standard Euro Cylinder
High Security Euro Cylinder with Anti-Snap Cuts
If enough lateral, or vertical, force is applied to the euro cylinder, it will snap at the weak point and make it possible to remove the front part of the lock. Special tools have been engineered to snap cylinders but thieves also use readily available tools like mole grips, a hammer or a screw driver to execute this attack. Worryingly it can take just seconds to gain access using this technique and there is very little experience needed, just a bit of brute force - as the following clip demonstrates.
Protect against Lock-Snapping
What is Lock-Bumping
Protect against Euro Cylinder Lock-Bumping
To combat Lock-Bumping attacks, the UAP+ Anti-Snap Euro Cylinder features what UAP term 'Zero Lift' technology. In this system one pin sits far higher than the other pins and one of the pins sits directly on the sheer line. This ensures that
even if a key is cut low enough to bump the pin that sits directly on the sheer line it will be too low to make contact with the high pin. Cutting a key high enough to make contact with the high pin will always result in overlift of the pin that sits on the sheer line. The Yale Kitemarked Anti-Bump Euro Cylinder uses a different technique to protect against Lock-Bumping.
What is Lock-Drilling
Sometimes a burglar may use a strong, HSS drill bit to drill out the lock. This is a less subtle and destructive method that involves drilling on the Sheer Line to the depth of the key and then turning the Plug with a screw driver.
Protect against Euro Cylinder Lock-Drilling
High security euro cylinders that have been awarded BS EN 1303:2005 protect against Lock-Drilling and often use hardened steel Anti-Drill Pins in the barrel and the Plug as a defence. The UAP+ Anti-Snap Euro Cylinder and the Yale Kitemarked Anti-Bump Euro Cylinder both demonstrated resistance of at least 5 minutes to be awarded Grade 2 for Attack Resistance.
What is Lock-Picking
This technique invloves manipulating the pins within the euro cylinder so that they all align on the shear line and allow the Plug to be turned and the lock opened.
The essential tools for manually picking a lock are a tension tool and pick, which is available in different forms like Jiggler, Hook, King, Snake Rake and Sawtooth Rake. The choice of pick depends on the technique being used. There are even electric lock picking guns that can be used to speed up the process of picking a lock. Lock-Picking takes practice, so many thieves will prefer the often quicker force techniques like Lock-Snapping and Lock-Bumping.
Protect against Euro Cylinder Lock-Picking
What is Plug-Pulling/Lock-Extraction
The Plug is the cylindrical part that houses the Keyway and turns within the cylinder body, known as the Barrel. There is one Plug on each end of a cylinder that is controlled by a key and they run from the external face of the cylinder to the central area where the Cam is located. The Plug can be pulled from standard euro cylinders by simply tightening a screw into the Keyway and then levering or pulling the screw with a claw hammer. Once the Plug has been removed a thief can easily turn the lock mechanism to unlock the door.
More sophisticated thieves may use special Lock Puller Screws with a Cover Plate and Lock Puller tool to carry out the same attack. A small diameter hole would be drilled in the Plug and the Lock Puller Screw fitted. The Cover Plate would then be placed over the cylinder to expose only the Plug. The Lock Puller is then attached and a ratchet used to slowly apply tension, which results in the Plug being pulled. Alternatively, using the same method without the Cover Plate, the cylinder will be snapped at the weak point.
Protect against Euro Cylinder Plug-Pulling and Euro Cylinder Lock-Extraction
High security euro cylinders like the UAP+ Anti-Snap Euro Cylinder and the Yale Kitemarked Anti-Bump Euro Cylinder can feature Anti-Plug Pull cuts that are designed to snap under such an attack to leave the remainder of the Plug intact and the Cam protected
. Similarly, the Anti-Snap cuts on the Barrel are effective against this attack to prevent the cylinder from being extracted.
Upgrade to an insurance approved, High Security Euro Cylinder lock to protect your home against such threats.