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Old 25.09.2007, 01:05
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Swiss keys and their security level

I read somewhere that these keys we use in Switzerland are very safe and difficult to copy. Imagine my surprise then this evening when I accidentally used the key to my office desk to try and enter my apartment block (they all look the same) and hey presto: access was granted. I tried again with another work key and the same thing happened.

Now while my apartment remained fortified to all but the intended key, I intend on contacting my landlord about this (if it is to work for two of my random keys, I am sure it will work for many more random keys, regardless of whose hands they are in) as I'd like to think the front door is there for some level of neighbourly security.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon with their keys, or have I a magic set?
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Old 25.09.2007, 11:58
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

Well I was in England last year and tried to see if I could get some duplicates made for a couple of quid instead of the Fr 50 each that my landlord was asking. Not one single locksmith could / would do it. They all said that I needed a special serial number or something which is unique to every key made.
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:07
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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I read somewhere that these keys we use in Switzerland are very safe and difficult to copy. Imagine my surprise then this evening when I accidentally used the key to my office desk to try and enter my apartment block (they all look the same) and hey presto: access was granted. I tried again with another work key and the same thing happened.

Now while my apartment remained fortified to all but the intended key, I intend on contacting my landlord about this (if it is to work for two of my random keys, I am sure it will work for many more random keys, regardless of whose hands they are in) as I'd like to think the front door is there for some level of neighbourly security.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon with their keys, or have I a magic set?
There are key and keys... If you have the type with the little holes in the tope and bottom of the tongue and a cut out stripe down the middle ie not a flat slab then these are middle secure. There is something like a 1 in 500000 chance of 1 key opening the lock of another although it is of course still possible. If you have the key with additionally the little holes on the edges as well you have the secure type and these keys are meant to be unique ie to open your door you would need to have your key. There are no masters available for these types either.

If you have the ones with a flat slab like tongue ie no grooves then these are about as good as the yale locks you see in the UK and US.

All of the ones from the middle secure up are individually registered and only the owner of the registration can have the keys newly cut.
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:15
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

what i find odd is that my apartment door key also opens the main building door, how on earth can this work?
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:22
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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what i find odd is that my apartment door key also opens the main building door, how on earth can this work?
This is a key family. The main outer door is opened by a subset of the little holes on your house door key. To that end, if you like, it is not so secure as your door...
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:23
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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what i find odd is that my apartment door key also opens the main building door, how on earth can this work?
Ours is like that too - it opens the building, our mailbox, our door and our private washroom. I've wondered the same thing - how can it open the public area, but (presumably) only our private areas.
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:29
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

Has anybody ever tried to get a copy of a key made to their apartment? It's a logistical nightmare full of paperwork, more paperwork, signed paperwork and the weeks of waiting, followed by CHF 50.

Soooooo different from the US where you take your key to be copied, walk into a Key Smith, wait 2 minutes, pay $2 and out you go.
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:34
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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Well I was in England last year and tried to see if I could get some duplicates made for a couple of quid instead of the Fr 50 each that my landlord was asking. Not one single locksmith could / would do it. They all said that I needed a special serial number or something which is unique to every key made.

Swiss keys are very secure. What you will find is that with many keys (KABA for example) the blanks are unique to each locksmith. So even if another locksmith was prepared the copy them he couldn't as his blanks would have a different basic pattern.

Many businesses and appartment blocks work on a master key system, whereby letter boxes, main entrances, etc will all work off off the apartment key.
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Old 25.09.2007, 12:49
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

The funny thing is that the thieves normally go in using the Balcony/Garden doors.
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:26
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

HAHAHAHA! I just cant stop laughing! Have any of you tried this trick, its known in the US. You can even find it on Youtube. Grab a key (any key) obviously the same size as the "key that you are going to open" then with a hammer tap it (no! NOT JAM IT! just tap, two small, and PRESTO,
The door will open! Dont believe me!? Try it yourself! AHHHH the swiss I tell you!
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:33
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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HAHAHAHA! I just cant stop laughing! Have any of you tried this trick, its known in the US. You can even find it on Youtube. Grab a key (any key) obviously the same size as the "key that you are going to open" then with a hammer tap it (no! NOT JAM IT! just tap, two small, and PRESTO,
The door will open! Dont believe me!? Try it yourself! AHHHH the swiss I tell you!
And surprise surprise it does not work on the high security Swiss locks as they have three dimensional tumblers...
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:35
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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And surprise surprise it does not work on the high security Swiss locks as they have three dimensional tumblers...
I was looking this up earlier, and it is apparently possible to still, uhm, hack the swiss style, but it's a lot harder to get the right blank.

Last edited by cyrus; 25.09.2007 at 17:59. Reason: removing "technical term"
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:36
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

I know that is supposed to work with Yale type locks, but are you sure it also will for the normal Swiss keys with holes "all over the place"? I somehow doubt it.
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:50
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

I'm probably heading for a Groan, but isn't it rather irresponsible to have security breaking ideas aired on this site? Warnings of lack of security, yes but surely not how to break other peoples' locks.
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Old 25.09.2007, 17:57
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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I'm probably heading for a Groan, but isn't it rather irresponsible to have security breaking ideas aired on this site? Warnings of lack of security, yes but surely not how to break other peoples' locks.
Yes, I was thinking this too and hadn't posted before, I'm not posting any links to sites. Shouldn't people be aware it's possible though?

Apparently it was popular in Germany a year or two ago, and the police didn't believe the victims as there was no evidence of a break-in.
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Old 25.09.2007, 18:20
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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Many businesses and appartment blocks work on a master key system, whereby letter boxes, main entrances, etc will all work off off the apartment key.
In my last apartment, in addition to my door, the key operated the main door, the cellar doors, and then my bit of the cellar.

It also opened both the door to the stairwell into the underground garage, and the car entrance. In other words, everyone in the three (and possibly more) apartment blocks could get into the garage using their own apartment key.

This was useful when I left my apartment keys in the car, as I could ask any neighbour to let me into the garage.
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Old 25.09.2007, 18:22
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

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Now while my apartment remained fortified to all but the intended key, I intend on contacting my landlord about this (if it is to work for two of my random keys, I am sure it will work for many more random keys, regardless of whose hands they are in) as I'd like to think the front door is there for some level of neighbourly security.
It sounds as though the lock on the main door is broken or simply worn out. See what the landlord says.
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Old 25.09.2007, 18:24
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

I agree, I should have posted it as a warning! My bad, I just feel like you people should know! I mean, yes, its pattented, yes its Swiss and all, but dont count on them for everything
BESIDES! this country is one of the safest in the world! So chill , just glad you know
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Old 25.09.2007, 19:44
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

The market leader on Switzerland's apartment doors is Kaba. Key to their success was the famous Kaba 8 that was patented back in 1934. The modern Kaba 20 and Kaba Star models are still patent protected.

The bump-key method is well known, here's what Kaba has to say about it (PDF with pictures).

Quote:
(...) Angriffe mittels Elektropick-Werkzeugen oder Schlagschlüsseln sind seit langer Zeit bekannt. Hier ist festzuhalten, dass solche Methoden in den letzten Jahren immer wieder aus Deutschland oder
Holland thematisiert wurden. In diesem Märkten werden aber vorwiegend sogenannte einreihige Systeme mit 5 bis 6 Zuhaltungen (Sperrelementen) verwendet. In der Schweiz kommen dagegen Systeme mit 3 Reihen und bis zu 12 Zuhaltungen (Kaba 8), oder noch höherwertige Systeme zum
Einsatz.
• Kaba 20 = 4 Reihen, bis zu 20 Zuhaltungen
• Kaba star = 5 bis 8 Reihen, bis zu 26 Zuhaltungen
"Attacks with Electro-pick tools or bump-keys are known for a long time. It should be noted that methods of this kind have been brought up every now and then in Germany and the Netherlands. But in these markets so-called one-row systems with 5-6 tumblers (blocking elements) are predominantly in use. In contrast, in Switzerland systems with 3 rows and up to 12 tumblers (Kaba 8), or even higher-value systems are in use."
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Old 25.09.2007, 20:48
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Re: Swiss keys and their security level

Funny that one of the world's safest countries, has the best locks as well... cause and effect? or just typical Swiss focus on thoroughness?
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