File cabinets are common in businesses and offices as a means to store important, and sometimes sensitive, information. When only staff members have access to the key, file cabinet locks can protect this information from unauthorised users.
One of the most basic types of filing cabinet locks, the cam lock, simply requires a key to turn a metal latch so that the latch rests behind a piece of the frame, when locked, or sits parallel to the top of the drawer when opened. A variation of this type of lock uses a hook that catches on another piece when moved into position.
Simple latch locks may be easy to pick by inserting a thin object, such as a piece of paper or credit card, between the top of the drawer and the cabinet frame, if possible. Alternatively, someone may be able to pick the lock, especially if the key design is simple, by inserting pins or other small implements into the lock to turn the latch.
To increase security of locks, consumers can purchase or swap keyed cam locks with locks that require a combination to open. Alternative lock types, including those that are compatible with padlocks, require the padlock to become vulnerable to open the file drawer.