Rift Recon Beginner Series Presents: Raking 101 with Aaron Autrand

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Rift Recon

There’s a new show about hackers on the USA Network. It’s called Mr. Robot, and Christian Slater is in it, which pretty much guarantees that it will get canceled, but it’s pretty good thus far. At least with the hacking scenes, the hacker doesn’t have a GUI to get into everything. There’s no drag and drop stuff; the hacking is (to my mostly untrained eye) plausibly believable. There’s even a lockpicking scene in Episode 2. The camera angles make it difficult to see exactly what he’s doing, but it too looks fairly believable.

Now that you’ve been spending some time with your locks, going through and fiddling with the pins one at a time, you are probably mentally revisiting your favorite movies and television shows and screaming “bullshit!! There’s no way you can pick a lock that fast!” But here’s the thing: it is completely possible to pick a lock that fast. Want to know how?


What are rakes, you ask? Well, think about your lockpick. You may be using the hook, you may be using the diamond tip, but the point is to try and lift a pin and set it before moving onto the next one. A rake has a number of peaks and valleys of various heights/depths to try and lift a bunch of pins all at once. Most lock pick kits will have a rake or two in them. Mine has two, both of them pretty short. I’ve never really gotten too good with them, because there are rakes, and then there are Rakes. And the king of those rakes is what’s known as a Bogota.


Bogotas are named after the mountains that surround the city of Bogotá, Colombia. There are a number of different styles, like the Monserrate or the Sabana (also named after the mountains in the area) that have different humps and are optimized for different lock set ups, but they all function the same.

Rakes are meant to be quick and dirty. There’s no painstaking picking of individual pins, just some quick raking (see where the name comes from) through the lock to try and knock pins into place. It’s pretty easy to feel like a champion with your rakes, because you can get through locks in nothing flat. Talking about it doesn’t even begin to do it justice, so I’ll let you see for yourself:

See how fast that was? It’s ridiculous. Now all those fictional depictions don’t seem so fictional, now do they? But enough sitting here reading. Go try it for yourself!

- Aaron Autrand is a trainee at Rift Recon. He is a novice lockpicker who is just trying to stay one step ahead.

Posted in beginner, entry, learn, lesson, lock picking, raking, tutorial

Introducing the ‘Rift Recon Beginner Series’ with Aaron Autrand

Posted on July 05, 2015 by Rift Recon

Rift Recon has spent two years assisting and collaborating with some of the most brilliant and innovative minds in the security industry. In doing so, we’ve categorized ourselves as adhering to a certain level of quality and expertise, and have recently intuited that that level may feel inaccessible to folks who are just testing the waters of cyber security, physical security, or both. As a result, we polled a vast number of our beginner and intermediate level trainees and company allies and determined there was a demand for a more elementary approach to certain skills we advertise. Thus the “Rift Recon Beginner Series” was born! 

We asked the newest member of our team, Aaron Autrand, to take control of the series, and he readily agreed. We’ll be publishing Beginner Series posts every week on our website. Look for the first post, “Rift Recon Beginner Series Presents: Picking Locks 101 with Aaron Autrand”, on Tuesday July 7th!

Aaron Autrand is a writer and editor. He was a member of the editorial staff of Anthem Magazine, the co-founder of music website Ground Control, and part of the team at the PBS documentary series Roadtrip Nation. He’s worked in startups, taught all over the world and surfed many waves badly. He believes in breaking things to learn how to fix them and make them better. It doesn’t necessarily always happen in that order.

- Arianna Travaglini

Executive Assistant at Rift Recon

Posted in bypass, education, learn, safety, security, teach, training, tutorial