September 14th, 2004

pinkie pie

Kryptonite lockpicking

This bikeforums thread explains that it is trivial to pick a cylindrical-key Kryptonite U-lock in a few seconds with a Bic pen. One poster provided a movie (mirrored by Engadget) of how quick it works.

The ten-page thread turns out the way you expect — lots of people upset that they were counting on this lock to protect their bike, some others reporting thefts in their area where the U-lock was left locked on the pole and the bike removed, lots of people angry that whoever discovered it went public, and so forth.

The people who are angry about it going public haven't thought very hard about the reports of bikes going missing around an "unopened" lock.

It's a little physical-security microcosm of the full-disclosure debate that comes up regularly in the data world, and it's a particularly clear example of how things work out. If you have a Kryptonite lock, are you thankful that someone broke the news, or are you annoyed because now you can't use the lock alone anymore?

More practically, if you use a cylindrical-keyed Kryptonite lock, this would be a good time to start locking up your bike with two locks.