"As you guys might remember, I recently had the nicest set of wheels I've ever had stolen from me. Today I was hanging out with a friend and we got to talking about that - he said his friend showed him just recently how to open a U-Lock with a ball point pen.When I read about it for the first time, I thought it might be a hoax. But they backed up their claim with video clips and over the week, the story spread quickly through the Blogosphere.
Of course I didn't believe it. That is until just thirty seconds ago when I opened my own Kryptonite Evolution 2000 with a bic ball point pen!
This has to be the most absurd thing I've ever seen. Try it. Take the end off the pen, jam it in the lock, wiggle around and twist.
Please tell everyone you know and make sure they do something about it right away."
Then on Friday the whole thing finally turned into a real PR disaster for Kryptonite, when it ended up in more traditional media outlets like NPR, CNN or the New York Times...
The trick works because the pen has the right diameter and is rigid enough to hold its general shape but pliable enough to mold into a sort of key that opens the lock. Mr. Tobias said the vulnerability of such locks was well known in security circles.Kryptonite has now reacted and is offering a free upgrade for the defective locks.
"These are cheaply manufactured locks with serious design flaws," he said. "You can't possibly think your bike is safe with one of these locks."
The uproar appears to have started on Sunday, when Chris Brennan, a cyclist in San Francisco, posted an urgent message on the bikeforums.net bulletin board after he was able to pop open his lock with a pen.
Like many people, he had been skeptical, but doubts were quickly dispelled when users like Mr. Running started posting digital video clips of the trick. By yesterday, 125,000 people had downloaded it from, his site, thirdrate.com, he said. Meanwhile, nearly 170,000 had seen Mr. Brennan's posting, starting a full-fledged panic.
But the damage has already been done.
Seems like the company knew about this problem for quite some time, but did nothing to solve it. Then a single customer puts it in an online forum, weblogs start writing about it and a few days later, millions of people - all over the world ! - can read things like "cheaply manufactured locks with serious design flaws" or "You can't possibly think your bike is safe with one of these locks" describing the most expensive lock brand in the market ! What a nightmare !!
I guess, Kryptonite now wishes, it has dealt with this problem a little earlier...