Lockpickers in action - on behalf of ASSA ABLOY

How burglar-proof is a lock or a locking cylinder really? In order to determine this, it is best to get expert advice. Like the so-called lockpickers, who have made it their hobby to "unlock" every lock. So it's a good thing that ASSA ABLOY in Berlin is practically employing its own lock picking department, the Research & Security Center (R&S), which tests the locking solutions thoroughly - even with unconventional methods and tools. Dr. Torsten Quast, head of R&S, explains more about the work of the unusual unit in our blog post.

The ASSA ABLOY Research & Security Center (R&S) is a company-wide department and was founded over 8 years ago in Berlin. The department tests the security of mechanical and electromechanical products: They are tested for optimization potential and vulnerabilities in terms of forced opening ("brute force" opening) and tampering attacks ("lock picking"). These results are then incorporated directly into product development.  Dr. Torsten Quast manages R&S and has practically turned his hobby into a profession: The laser physicist has been an enthusiastic lockpicker since his early youth. He is a member of the nationwide association "Sportsfreunde der Sperrtechnik" (Sports Friends of Locking Technology) and is multiple German champion in lock opening.

The sporty aspect of lock picking is to open locks and locking cylinders as quickly as possible with the appropriate amount of practice and experience," states Dr. Torsten Quast, explaining his unusual hobby.

"To the layman, lock picking looks a bit like someone is using dental instruments on a door lock, and the tools are, in fact, really similar. Many people may have already seen this in a crime drama on television when a locked door opens in just a few moments. In reality, however, it takes a lot of practice and, unsurprisingly, it takes longer than in the film. We open locks, not doors. This is an important point to make so that we are not associated with criminal acts."

Dr. Torsten Quast, Head of ASSA ABLOY Research & Security Center and passionate lockpicker

Lock picking: The manipulative way of opening where nothing is visibly destroyed.

The Research & Security Center, headed by Dr. Torsten Quast, ensures that ASSA ABLOY solutions are not "unlocked" by unauthorised persons in the first place. "We think like potential burglars, combine attack methods and use unconventional tools. To overcome the methods, we look for creative approaches and think "outside the box". With this approach, we can eliminate weaknesses in mechanical as well as electromechanical systems. We work according to the ‘Beyond the Standards' slogan. This means that we test our products that go far beyond the standards", explains Quast.

"Brute force" opening: Brute force opening refers to drilling, breaking open or milling, for example. The focus here is on the concrete destruction of the mechanics.

The ASSA ABLOY Research & Security Center not only tests products, but also works alongside development. "We are therefore proactively involved in the development cycle and can ensure that better products are created as early as this stage", explains Dr. Quast. "We call this kind of work at ASSA ABLOY 'Security by Design‘", he adds. R&S works at group level, i.e. globally. This leads to a much deeper understanding of security, which ultimately makes completely different development services possible and results in extremely well-developed products. 

eCLIQ - the secure locking system

One of these sophisticated solutions with extremely high protection against tampering and intelligent attacks is the eCLIQ system from ASSA ABLOY, which Dr. Quast and his team have supported from the very beginning. "eCLIQ has created a high-end security product that can be used up to critical infrastructures. eCLIQ has achieved an extremely high level of security with our help and offers comfort and flexibility in the field of electromechanical cylinders", explains Quast.

When asked what distinguishes the employees of the Research & Security Center, Dr Torsten Quast replied: "An accurate understanding of the product, a wealth of experience in the methods and technologies used and the right intuition are important prerequisites for our work. All employees also have a very highly developed instinct, patience, enterprise and the 'sporty' ambition to find weaknesses."

More information on eCLIQ, the secure and flexible locking solution for every requirement and building size, can be found at:

eCLIQ locking system