Security is an ever-increasing concern for homeowners, especially as technology takes major spheres of our lives. Since technology has become a part of houses, it was natural for people to start adding smart touches as well as features that would increase how much they could protect their homes and valuables in them.
Locks underwent a lot of changes as well as advancements in technology. Many companies tried to step up their game with smart locks that have quickly become the standard for everyone who wishes to add high-tech security features to their homes. But with the surge of smart locks, an important question arises how smart are these locks?
Are smart locks trustworthy?
Smart locks are designed by keeping the user experience in mind. The idea of the users having to carry around a key or remember a code is old-fashioned, now people have begun preferring to use their phones as their keys. This is why the smart lock technology has been created, however, it is important to note that this does not make these locks necessarily better at their job, but what it does is it just makes them more convenient.
What smart locks can do is add features to enhance the user experience or increase the feeling of security without any added effort, however, does this come at a price?
The problem with smart locks is that they are using technology to connect to your house. Understanding how these smart locks work, and how vulnerable smart locks are against certain types of attacks can greatly determine the safety of your house as well as the contents within it.
What kind of door lock is most secure?
It is important to note that these smart locks or any locks, in general, are not 100% secure, however, they are much better than conventional locks in terms of security. Smart locks are currently the best option on the market, however, if you wish to make sure that your house is completely secure, you will need to take more precautions while implementing security measures as well as layers.
Traditional front door locks are susceptible to breaks in, they are arguably just as much as or even more so than a Smart Lock. An experienced burglar will be able to snap a Euro Lock to gain entry to your house in seconds. Yes, you sure can invest in an anti-snapping lock, however, it would still be vulnerable to ‘picking’. You have the ability to get high-security locks that are anti-snap as well as anti-pick.
When it comes to deciding which is the most secure lock for your home, you have to think about whether it is more likely an intruder will pick the lock, or hack it. According to statistics burglary is a crime of opportunity, so it is not likely an intruder will have pre-planned to hack into a smart door lock. That’s not to say smart locks are 100% fail-free, Smart Locks often run off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so there is always a chance this will fail, potentially leaving your home vulnerable.
However, there is no denying that smart locks edge out traditional locks in the categories of convenience and versatility, while traditional locks take the win in the cost sector. With technology still progressing and the increasing use of smart locks, it can only be predicted that the use, as well as security provided with smart locks, will keep on increasing.
Is it easy to hack a smart lock?
Like most smart devices, people often seem to forget that a smart lock is a small computer, and it can also be hacked. Hackers can access the user phone’s data during a break-in, or they can access the lock itself if it happens to be Bluetooth-enabled.
In 2016, as per The Hacker News, security researcher Anthony Rose found a bug in the Bluetooth authentication protocol used by a massive number of smart locks. This bug was reportedly the reason hackers were able to access the locks without any authentication, allowing them to unlock doors with ease.
Though the smart locks have patched the bug, and they are now more secure than ever before, this doesn’t mean that hackers will not find new flaws in the future. So, it is important to stay aware of any security issues that might arise with smart locks. There are 3 ways a smart lock can be hacked:
- Bluetooth Sniffing
As Bluetooth is the main communication protocol for many smart locks, hackers can use this communication. This can be done so by using any number of Bluetooth hacking devices, ranging from very simple tools to more advanced technology specifically designed to hack smart locks.
Though this is a possible hacking threat, Bluetooth is a short-range communication protocol. Even if someone wanted to try to hack your smart lock, they would have to be in physical proximity of the lock.
- Wi-Fi Breaching
Another common way for hackers to access your smart lock is through Wi-Fi, such a case was reported by Bitdefender regarding the August Smart Lock.
Hackers can exploit certain vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi connection used by your smart lock. However, just like with Bluetooth, any hacker would have to be close to your home’s network.
- Out-of-Date Firmware/Companion App
Every smart lock has a companion mobile application that is used to control the smart lock. This companion app is supposed to always remain up-to-date with the latest firmware, however, this isn’t always the case.
Few locks have companion apps that are not compatible with newer firmware updates. This can leave the lock vulnerable to hackers. This is why all smart devices need to remain up-to-date on firmware. You have the ability to check if your lock’s firmware is up-to-date by connecting to the Wi-Fi of the lock itself.
Is a smart lock necessary?
The entire idea of a smart lock is to add convenience to your life, these include features like remote access, voice control, and scenes. There are a lot of reasons as to why you can upgrade to a smart lock, here are a few:
- Smart locks are usually not clunky or oddly shaped. They can even masquerade as a regular lock, for example, the Kwikset Kevo. They make a stylish first impression, if you happen to be looking for an update to your deadbolt hardware, Schlage, Kwikset as well as Yale make stylish locks featuring both keypads with traditional deadbolt design.
- You can let in friends when you’re away. If you’re a vacation rental owner, a customer of cleaning or dog-walking services, or if you have friends as well as family visiting often, a smart lock can make life easier for everyone. As you don’t need to make key copies or hide a spare set. You have the ability to give out digital keys using the lock’s accompanying app, you can also restrict what times someone is allowed to enter your home.
- Can keep your home secure. Yes, smart locks are connected to networks, which poses the risk of being hacked. However, anyone with a smart lock should keep their companion apps updated, passwords secure and set up a PIN for unlocking via voice assistants. Despite the risks of hacking, smart locks do eliminate the risk of someone swiping the key from underneath your doormat or whatever your hiding place is.
The bottom line is that Smart locks aren’t perfect. Smart locks may not be a right fit for everyone, and buyers should consider their specific needs before investing in any piece of smart-home technology. However, with built-in protections like emergency battery nodes, PIN requirements as well as decoy codes for keypads, it is possible to safely and responsibly upgrade your door.
Note – Make sure you buy smart locks from trusted brands to enhance the security as well as features provided.
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