With the advancements in technology along with a heavier emphasis on home security, the word “smart” has been thrown in front of numerous product names. When it comes to smart locks, the word “smart” means that the lock has the ability to connect to other technology. Like your smartphone can connect to the internet, a smart lock will be able to connect to your home Wi-Fi.
This connection is what provides convenience while also making it possible to activate the lock remotely, that is as long as you have an internet connection. However, while Wi-Fi connectivity brings the benefits of technology, some weaknesses also tag along. This often leads to the users wondering if smart locks can be hacked.
Do smart locks fail?
Smart Lock Technology Can and Does Fail, something that has only been around for about ten years, naturally will have some technological limitations.
For example, these only work with deadbolts. If you happen to use a different locking mechanism, you will not be able to use them. Say the door isn’t firmly closed, the smart lock might not secure the deadbolt.
If the smart lock’s battery happens to fail, you may find yourself locked out. Or, if your wireless network is down, you might not succeed in using the remote functionality.
When you are choosing smart locks, be sure you read the reviews before deciding one.
How easy is it to break into a smart lock?
Some smart locks might be fairly easy to break into if they are poorly made or if they are not sold through a reputable company. A safe smart lock will contain all of the built-in safety measures of a standard lock coupled with additions to further enhance safety measures to prevent hacking.
Well-built smart locks are much more difficult to pick or break into than standard locks. They require complex techniques that your joe-schmo criminal does not likely have in their toolbox.
Additionally, the smart locks come with a built-in backup system with the keypad. Most of these are set up so that if the wrong code is entered too many times, the lock will time out for a while. This is to prevent anyone from just walking up to your door and trying a bunch of random numbers to see if they get lucky.
For Smart locks standard lock picking techniques will fail, as well as electronic access through hacking becomes nearly impossible when you have two-factor authentication, as well as 128-bit encryption, enabled.
That is not to say that these smart locks cannot be hacked, three ways can be done.
- Bluetooth Sniffing
- Wi-Fi Breaching
- Out-of-Date Firmware or Companion App
Now. the process of breaking a smart lock easily depends on not just the breakers, but you as well. If you are keeping using smart locks from trusted brands if you maintain your smart devices up-to-date on their firmware, the easiness of hacking decreases.
What are the disadvantages of smart locks?
With all of today’s technological advancements towards making life “easier,” it is sometimes easy to forget that there are pros and cons to everything.
- The Reliance on Phones
Smart locks communicate using phones, if your phone dies or you lose it, you could get locked out of your own home. This is especially true if you do not have a backup option, for example, other authorized devices.
It is suggested you find one friend or relative who can be an authorized user on your smart lock account. So that if ever any issues arise, they can unlock your door for you.
- Batteries as well as Electricity
Batteries can and do die, if you do not have access to the backup key (that is if your system has one), then you will end up being locked out. The only way you will be able to get in maybe by hiring a locksmith who can damage that expensive new smart lock of yours in the process.
Pay attention to the battery life of your lock, keep checking to make sure you always have enough power remaining.
- The Cost
Smart locks are not cheap, certainly not when compared to standard lock-and-key boxes. You might also need a professional who can both install the lock also sync it to your network as well as your phone. Malfunctions can prove to be costly to fix, as well.
Price out your different options, of course, you don’t want to be cheap with smart locks or standard locks. However, there are ways to find the ones that provide both excellent values as well as robust security.
- Their Vulnerability to Hackers
This might just be the biggest weakness of smart locks. Though they eliminate the threat of lock picking, hackers have the ability to override the system to gain entry. The hackers could even target weak digital security protocols on the lock to access your network. Either way, it is a severe security risk.
How to protect your Smart lock?
Here are some additional security measures that you should take to protect your smart lock:
- Use a PIN for voice unlocking
If your smart lock is connected to a voice assistant, make sure you use a PIN to unlock it using voice commands. There is also a possibility for someone outside your home to ask your voice assistant to unlock the door if they have just a few pieces of information about your device.
By default, Google Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa both require a spoken PIN for voice unlocking. You can use one with several smart locks, including the August Smart Lock Pro, the Kwikset Obsidian, and Yale’s Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt.
- Create codes for individuals
Individual codes are a great way to not just ensure your safety, but to also keep track of who is coming as well as going from your home. It is generally a good idea not to pass out just one code for friends, family, guests a well as commercial services.
- Take advantage of scheduling
Many smart locks, for example, the Array by Hampton provides the option to schedule the codes. This means that you have the ability to set the dog walker’s code to only be valid from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or whatever the schedule for whomever the person is.
- Keep firmware up to date
As stressed in other parts of the article as well, keep your smart lock as well as its companion apps up to date. Manufacturers use software along with firmware updates to patch any security issues to improve the lock’s performance. Keep checking your apps regularly to be able to update anytime there is new firmware/software available.
- Enable extra features
There are a handful of extra features smart locks employ to keep you even safer.
An example of extra features is Decoy numbers, which can be found on the Kwikset Obsidian. These are the numbers that may light upon a keypad before you type in your code.
When you type the decoy numbers, which vary before you enter your code means you are using more of the keyboard over time, thus, making it harder for intruders from being able to guess the code based on fingerprints or from wear on the buttons.
Auto relock is also a simple feature many locks offer that locks the door after a fixed amount of time, to ensure that if you leave the house without remembering to lock the door, the smart lock will do it.
Now to answer Are smart locks easy to break, to be honest, nothing is easy to break, unless you buy safety equipment for dirt cheap, so it is highly suggested you buy smart locks from trusted brands. Smart locks are not easy to break, and are not easy to be hacked if you are taking proper precautions, for example, keeping the companion app up to date.
If you liked this article (or if it helped at all), leave a comment below or share it with friends, so they can also know Are smart locks easy to break?