Whether you're stuck inside and need to break out or you've found locked outside and need to get in, having the key or password is rarely your only option. Here are our top 10 favourite tricks for breaking into and out of nearly any locked down environment.
10. Crack an Electronic Safe
Breaking into many types of electronic safes (you know, ones with keypads) is surprisingly easy. You just need to bounce them. It's a pretty simple technique, but looks like it takes a bit of practice. Basically, you drop part of the safe against the table (or whatever surface it's resting upon) while turning the locking knob.
If your timing is right, you'll have turned the knob when the safe's lock bounces open for a brief moment. This works because many cheaper safes have locks that lift. Better safes don't have this vulnerability and this trick won't work on them, but if you've got a cheap one and lost your pass code, this bouncing trick will open it right up.
9. Break Into Your Garage From The Outside
Can't get into your own house? Got a garage? Just stick a long metal wire with a hook on the end through the door to grab the garage door latch and force it to lift the door open. You can get back into your garage in seconds with this trick. (See the video to the right for a demonstration.) If you'd like to prevent people from doing this to you, all you need to do is bind your opener's quick door release lever with a cable tie. This will make your emergency latch a bit more difficult to open, but you won't have to worry about any troublesome individuals breaking into your garage.
8. Release A Sliding Chain Lock With A Rubber Band
If you want to find your way into a door that's bound shut by a sliding chain lock, all you need is a rubber band. Assuming you've bypassed any other locks already, just open the door as much as you can and tie the rubber band to one end of the sliding lock. Next, pull the rubber band down to the door handle. Shut the door and open it again and the door handle will pull the sliding lock out of place. (See a video demonstration here.) Easy!
7. Break Out Of A Car Submerged In Water
Perhaps you decided to drive your car into the ocean. It seemed like a fun idea at the time, but now that you're sinking and up against the prospect of death you're feeling a little remorse. Your best bet for breaking free is breaking the window with a device called a centre punch. They're cheap and easy to acquire, so you might want to keep one in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
Failing that, it is possible to kick a window out when you don't have the necessary technology. Just aim for the hinges, rather than the middle, and you should find success with a little luck and sufficient force. Just don't try to open the door. That's just not going to work.
6. Escape From A Car Boot
For those times when you've been shoved in a car boot, there is a simple way to break yourself out. Because pretty much every boot lock has a hook latch, you just have to locate the lock cylinder connected to latch mechanism and use it to release the latch. (More info here.) Many cars have internal releases, however, so you can generally get out by just pushing a button.
5. Unbind Your Bound Wrists
Tied up and bound? No problem. Whether you've been handcuffed or your captor decided to take the cheaper route and go with the more-affordable cable tie, you can still break out pretty easily. To break out of cable ties you just have to slam your bound fists against your butt and pull them apart. Getting out of handcuffs requires a little extra work, in that you need something called a survival strap that has a clasp doubling as a handcuff key. Tricky!
4. Break Into A Windows Or Mac Computer
Perhaps you've forgotten your computer's password and need access or you just want to learn how people can break in so you can prevent it from happening to you. We've got guide for both Windows and Mac OS X to help you learn both sides of computer security. Your files are easily accessible with just a Linux Live CD and there are plenty of other methods, like brute-force attacks, that can provide unwanted access, so learn all about it and keep your data safe.
3. Break Into Your Car
Did you lock your keys in your car again? All it really takes to get back in is a wooden wedge (like a doorstop) and a long metal rod. You just use the wedge to pry open the driver's side door just a bit so you can stick the metal rod in the opening and press the unlock button (or whatever it is). I tried this on my own car and was able to actually do it, although it was a bit complicated because the button is rather round. If you have old-school locks that push up and down you can just use a crimped plastic strap to lift the lock instead. Remember to be careful and only break into a vehicle that you own!
2. Crack Wi-Fi Passwords
Wi-Fi passwords help secure your network, but they're not that hard to crack. A tool called Backtrack can crack WEP passwords and Reaver can crack WPA. With these tools, the process is fairly easy but a little time consuming -- it can take hours. If you want to learn how it works and how you can protect yourself, check out our Backtrack WEP-cracking guide. (A guide on WPA-cracking with Reaver is coming soon.)
1. Pick And Crack Most Locks
Lock picking and cracking skills are incredibly useful when you lock yourself out of your own home. They're also great for assessing the security of any given lock. We've shown you how to both crack a master padlock and pick pretty much any standard lock. These skills are surprisingly easy to learn. Just use them for good and not evil.