Cracking the Master Lock

Have you ever had to toss one of those Master Lock combination locks because you’d forgotten the combination? I know I have. In fact, we’ve got one sitting in a basket in our front hall that’s in perfect condition except that it’s locked and no one knows the combination.

You could try to "brute-force" the lock: that means trying every single combination until you come to the one that works. Unfortunately, there are a total of 40X40X40, or 64,000, different combinations on a 40-digit lock. The good news is that, on average, you’d only need to try 32,000 of those combinations (but that’s an average–some locks could be "solved" in just a few tries, while others might take close to 64,000).

But there’s even better news: many of the Master Locks are susceptible to short cuts. A couple of recent articles about cracking Master Locks have turned up:

  • How to Crack a "Master Lock" Combination Lock on WikiHow gives step-by-step instructions, as well as pointers to (among others) a Master Lock corporate page with instructions for getting the combination right from the company, as well as other tips for getting into locked places.
  • Master Lock Hack is a quicker, and less comprehensive overview of the procedure, with a couple of links to a spreadsheet and a program that you can use to help you in the process.

But remember kids: it’s not cool to open someone else’s locks! And just in case you want to protect something important, remember this: no lock is completely secure! With enough time, all locks can be broken.

So be a good person and use this only for recovering your own locks, OK?

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