Guide to Lock Picking



This version of the guide has been modernized. I have created new, higher resolution figures that are more clear than the original images images. Some of the HTML has been modified and CSS has been implemented for better readability in modern browsers. The following code of ethics should be adhered to in any form of hacking, lock picking included. These points are also outlined in MIT's opinion of this article.

  • Be SUBTLE — leave no evidence that you were ever there. (This is a general rule which applies to lots of circumstances — a few are enumerated explicitly in this list, but many principles follow from this simple edict)
  • Leave things as you found them (or better).
  • If you find something broken call F-IXIT (a local number for reporting problems with the buildings and grounds — Hackers often go places the normal institute workers do not frequent regularly and hence may see problems before the workers do).
  • Leave no damage.
  • Do not steal anything.
  • Brute force is the last resort of the incompetent.
  • Do not hack while under the influence of alcohol/drugs/etc.
  • Do not drop things (off a building w/out a ground crew).
  • Do not hack alone (just like swimming).
  • Exercise COMMON SENSE. (This is another general rule with very wide applicability — when exploring, you are often in places which were not intended for normal traffic. The people who built the area may not have assumed anyone would be there without special knowledge of the area. Many of the assumptions you are used to making are not valid or applicable while hacking. It is very important that you stay alert and think clearly.)


Ted the Tool
September 1, 1991

Figures and illustrations updated by © 2013 Jason Raveling.


Copyright 1987, 1991 Theodore T. Tool. All rights reserved.

Permission to reproduce this document on a non-profit basis is granted provided that this copyright and distribution notice is included in full. The information in this booklet is provided for educational purposes only.

August 1991 revision.