While our PACLOCKs were modeled after the American Lock Company brand of locks from the Master Lock Company, there are distinct differences. One of those very important differences is in the design of the “cylinder tailpiece” or driver portion of the cylinder. If the reader isn’t aware, the design of the American Lock cylinder’s tailpiece is in such a way that it allows for a very simple attack called a “bypass attack.” This type of attack is in the “surreptitious entry” attack method because this form of attack does not leave any noticeable trace to the average user that the padlock was tampered with. In other words, if someone were to cut the shackle to your padlock (a “forced entry attack”) then when you saw your padlock on the ground in pieces, you’d know it was attacked. Immediately you would be alerted to a problem and take appropriate actions.
A surreptitious entry attack like picking, bumping, or bypassing is one where the common user will not know that a thief or criminal had defeated the padlock and gained entry. Presumably the perpetrator would simply re-lock the padlock upon exiting the crime scene. So when the user returned, everything would appear normal. This sort of attack, a surreptitious entry attack, is the worst sort of attack and truly must be guarded against.
A bypass attack likely evolved because of the spring loaded locking mechanisms found in padlocks similarly designed to a Master Lock #1, #3, and #5 series (please note that this does not imply that these padlocks are bypassable ~ simply that they have spring loaded locking mechanisms). But as a savvy padlock person, you likely know that the American Lock Company brand of padlocks do not use a spring loaded locking mechanism. Instead, they are ball bearing locked with a solid “actuator” or cam. How then can an American Lock Company brand of padlock be susceptible to a bypass attack?
It’s in the design of the cylinder and the actuator. The design allows for a perpetrator to use a “bypass tool” (easily found on the Internet and sold without restriction) to insert the tool into the keyway of the cylinder (where the key normally goes - See Fig. 1). Following the instructions of the bypass tool manufacturer, you then find the sweet spot where the bypass tool can engage the “half moon” shape of the American Lock actuator and rotate the bypass tool as if it were a key. Pop goes the shackle!
Sure, the American Lock Company brand of padlocks come with a bypass restrictor plate now. It’s a very thin plate that is intended to prevent this sort of bypass attack. You guessed it! The lock picking manufacturing companies simply developed a “breaker” for the bypass restrictor plate. So the first step is to break the restrictor plate ~ then you bypass the lock.
There are videos that document and detail how easy this sort of attack really is.
Why are you safe with a PACLOCK? Simple. When we designed our padlocks, we didn’t just “copy” the American Lock entirely. Our designers years ago “fixed” some of the inherent design problems like this bypass problem. So while a PACLOCK cylinder looks very much like and works exactly like an American Lock Company brand of cylinder, there is a critical difference. PACLOCK’s half moon shape is oriented perpendicular to the keyway (See Fig. 2). By making this change, it is IMPOSSIBLE to bypass any PACLOCK.
No bypass restrictor plate needed because it’s impossible to bypass a PACLOCK.
Think twice about your padlock manufacturer. Just because you’ve been buying an American Lock Company brand of padlock for years, doesn’t mean you should keep doing it. Companies innovate ~ products improve. The question is: Do you think your current padlock manufacturer is improving or getting worse?
Fig. 1 - An American Lock® cylinder with the bypass tool inserted through the keyway where the tip of the bypass tool turns the actuator to release the shackle.
Fig. 2 - Side by side comparison of an American Lock® cylinder (on the left) and PACLOCK's cylinder (on the right). With PACLOCK's half-moon design being perpendicular to the keyway, our cylinders are bypass proof since a bypass tool can't get through to the actuator.
Don't take our word for it: Check out Bosnian Bill's video of how easily an American Lock® can be bypassed with a bypass tool and wafer breaker.
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