My file cabinet is ordinary, four drawer, with a punched spot for
installing a lock. I've never done it, so my first question is how to
remove the metal where the lock will be installed.
Second question, is there a lock available (preferably on the Internet)
that can be opened with a key but cannot be opened by locksmith? Want
one that is pick-proof.
My "secure" file cabinets are surplus from classified-materials
storage at a government contractor. Forget the pretty little cabinet
lock, weld a steel strap hinge the full height of the cabinet, with a
hasp on one of the front rails, so that the strap hinge blocks the
front of every drawer. Even at that, you're still relying on a
padlock that can be picked, cut, or bludgeoned off of the cabinet, so
it's only one layer of a multi-layer protection for important
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
Put a screwdriver on it near the edge and top with a hammer.
No. File cabinet lock are really pretty cheap. A good amateur can get one
open and surely a locksmith can. If your material is that valuable, get a
more secure setup like a safe. Of course, even a safe can be opened by a
I agree. Most file cabinet locks are easily defeated. I have gained access
to several just by straightening a paperclip and put a bump at the end of
it. Rake it across the pins in the lock with some rotational force on the
lock tumbler and it opens sickeningly easily. I'm interested in knowing how
a key lock can be pick-proof. Perhaps with some electronics installed like
the GM resistance chip? I don't think it's possible to make a pick-proof
lock that can be opened with a key.
Just what are you trying to keep secret? :^\\
Unless it is a solid-core or steel door, in a steel or reinforced hardwood
frame, the only thing a combo lock protects against is a sneak thief. If
someone is there after hours, a boot on the doorknob will shatter the
frame/door, and open the door. A fancy lock will just attract their
attention. I'd use a solid-core door with a thick jamb, and long screws
holding it to the wall, and a commercial-grade deadbolt lock with a long
throw. Maybe mount a 'Janitor' sign on the outside....
Is this a residential or office setting? Different tricks for different
1) Hammer and screw driver.
2) No. I'm a locksmith with 20 years experience. The only pick proof file
cabinet lock I've seen was a custom job in a factory dealing with
confidential matters. And it wasn't anything you could get on the net.
You want something that the locksmith can't open! Don't bother. The
cabinet is not all that secure, if you want in, you don't need to go though
I worked in a secure business. We had good commercial grade file
cabinets. When it came time to replace them, each one had to be checked for
data that might be remaining in them. We could not allow any to leave to
office. I picked a few locks on those that were locked and decided that my
time would be better spent just breaking into them. Much faster and easier.
Of course I would guess someone with the right practiced skills could have
picked them faster than I could.
I did find a number of confidential documents in those cabinets.
Long time ago, worked in HR department. Confidentiality important, of
course. Boss was a personal friend. She came in to use typewriter one
day, make me and work buddy leave the room. Boss had already told us
she was looking for other employment, so we thought that was likely what
she needed the typewriter for. When she was done, being the curious
children that we were then, I took the film ribbon out of the typewriter
and read what she had typed. She walked back in whilst I was still
holding the ribbon :o)
She was gone by the time our department Christmas party was held, at
VP's home. Jovial atmosphere, talked about work/fun. Told the story
about the type ribbon. It only took about a month before the whole
department had computers :o) Another time, another boss. Boss would
fill me in on things I didn't need to know, although I had access to
personnel files, everyone's salaries, etc. Told me a VP got canned one
Friday afternoon. We had no security guards at the time, and I had to
open main door if exec's came back in after hours. The fired VP came
in, had yelled at me once before for carding him, and I wasn't supposed
to know he was "gone". He went back out in a few minutes, carrying a
couple of large boxes. Eek! I had to call another VP at home, tell him
mr so-and-so left with some boxes. He headed off the first guy, and
probably got a speeding ticket on the way in. The place had full time
security guards shortly after.
Another time, had taken ceramics for a hobby and worked at the store
until stuff was fired. The owner used to get shredded computer paper
from local companies to pack stuff in. One day unpacking stuff at home,
I realized my knicknacks were packed in paper shredded the wrong
direction - a computer printout of salaries for everyone at the local
telephone company, people I knew. When I shred something really
sensitive, I tear it up, run hot water in the sink, soak it for a few,
and put it through the disposal :o)
When I was 17 I worked for a company that was sold to ITT. A new Teletype
machine was installed in the mailroom so a confidential report could be sent
to HQ in NY every Friday. None of the executive secretaries knew how to use
the Teletype, but I did and knew how to type. I was as low as possible on
the totem pole, but sent the confidential report every week. My boss was
also very nosey and stood over my shoulder much of the time.
I take my shred and mix it well then divide it up. Only one stack goes
out at a time. My shredder cross cuts it. So it is unlikely anyone is
going to be able to reconstruct much unless they collect several shipments
in a row.
The higher the security, the higher the cost....
Here is a cabinet which can have a "Medeco" lock as an option...
(Click on "High Security Lock Options" near bottom of page.)
"Norminn" wrote in message
Like the others have said, the internal locks on civilian-grade file
cabinets are pretty much junk. At work (a DoD agency), before they fell for
the modular furniture fad (which isn't lockable at all- 10 keys open all of
them, but I digress), we had standard 4-up file cabinets fitted with
external lock bars and big-ass shielded-dial 'GSA-standard' security
combination padlocks. Real PITA to open, but secure against thieves w/o
tools. (anybody who did office work in the military knows exactly the locks
I am talking about.) You could cobble up some sort of lock bar with hardware
store parts, if you don't mind ugly. Just make sure all the attachment
points are through-bolted with big washers, not riveted or screwed, and make
sure the lock bar covers the fasteners. A hardened bike padlock will be
secure enough for most uses. Yeah, it can be opened, but not quietly or
quickly, which makes the protection level 99.9% for most uses.
Here is a Google search link to a premade one. Definitely overpriced, but it
is a niche market. Unless you have a machine shop, buying the stock to make
just one would probably cost half the price they want for a pretty one.
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