Safes can keep important information like part of a dual control password, smartcards and pendrives, and so on.

What would be the best practices to prevent loss or damage to a physical locks to a safe? The same question for loss of access password?

  • 1
    Keep the key in another safe. No, really - if the only way to get into a critical safe is through either breaking in, or breaking into a different safe (ideally controlled by someone else, perhaps your bank or solicitor), you can still access the contents, but have warning if anyone else tries.
    – Matthew
    Jan 29, 2016 at 13:55
  • Safety deposit box? Jan 29, 2016 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


Dealing with physical locks is pretty straightforward. You call a professional locksmith and they can open the lock. Once it's open, you can either reset the combination or re-fit a new lock. The bigger and more expensive/professional the safe, the more costly/difficult it is to do this.

Standard practice is to keep a few spare copies of the key in trustworthy places. Tamper-evidence (e.g., envelope, in-case-of-emergency-break-glass, or whatever) is sometimes helpful.

Interestingly enough, physical keys can be duplicated from information. If you take a good picture of a key, the key can be reconstructed from the photo. In fact, if you knew that your front door key was a Schlage 24431, you could go to a locksmith and have them use a Schlage blank and create a 24431 key and it would probably work.

But generally you just pick the lock and change the lock if you lose the physical key.

  • 1
    "if you knew that your front door key was a Schlage 24431, you could go to a locksmith and have them use a Schlage blank and create a 24431 key and it would probably work." That's why it might be a good idea to use copy-protected keys (examples being Assa d12, Kaba and others), ideally without key numbers stamped on them. Doing so doesn't stop the really determined people from copying the key, but it does make it much more difficult.
    – user
    Jan 29, 2016 at 14:21
  • And avoid having the popular press publish photographs of your master keys, too. :) gizmodo.com/…
    – Paco Hope
    Jan 29, 2016 at 16:41
  • Ah, yes, that too. Of course, for most people for whom this is a problem that needs considering, master keys is not often a major issue.
    – user
    Jan 29, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    @Michael Kjörling - Medeco locks use patent protected keys, and the dealers are supposed to require authorization on file for who is allowed to have copies made. Jan 31, 2016 at 5:12
  • @Anti-weakpasswords I think that's fairly common for copy-protected keys, actually. Different manufacturers do it in different ways (for d12 Assa uses a separate physical token that is has information on it that is needed to make new keys or locks, for example) but however it is done, there exists some sort of authorization or authentication besides the key. When blanks are controlled and cutting data is restricted, that serves to make obtaining duplicate keys much more difficult. The key is still just a physical token that can be copied given enough effort, but this definitely raises the bar.
    – user
    Jan 31, 2016 at 9:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.