Are Smart Door Locks Safe?

Smart Door Lock

It’s no secret that leaving a door unlocked makes it easier for burglars to not only enter your home but also make neighbors think they are just looking after your pets or watering your plants. Installing a smart door lock is an easy and convenient way to ensure your door is always locked from your smartphone.

Smart door locks act as a hands-free smart home gadget designed with convenience and safety in mind. Not only are you able to unlock the door using a custom key code, but you can also safely enter your home if you’re forgetful and leave your keys behind. This is because smart locks operate electronically and don’t require a key to unlock. Some locks may even use remotes, smartphones, or voice commands from a smart speaker to lock and unlock your door. That way, you won’t have to risk anyone finding a hide-a-key or trusting your friend to have a spare in case of emergency.

Phone Detection

One reason people doubt the safety of smart locks stems from the mistaken idea that you can only unlock them with your smartphone. Certain brands of smart door locks use your phone’s presence via Bluetooth to disengage. This becomes problematic if someone steals your phone. However, most smart locks also have a backup key, and an entry code you can enter in the event your phone isn’t with you.

Can Smart Locks be Hacked?

Like any standard lock, if someone is determined, they can find ways to pick, or, in this case, hack your lock. At the 2016 hacker convention known as DEF CON, presenters focused on the safety of smart locks. Representatives from Merculite Security tested 16 smart locks that relied on Bluetooth technology to operate. They found that 75% of these locks had vulnerabilities that made them easy to hack. These vulnerabilities included the following:

  • Plain text passwords

  • Decompiling APK files

  • Device spoofing

  • Replay attacks

Some companies have noted Bluetooth vulnerabilities and have added an extra layer of protection with the inclusion of Wi-Fi. For instance, Lockitron can use Wi-Fi to remotely unlock and lock a door or receive notices when the lock’s knock sensor has been triggered.

Avoiding Smart Lock Removal

Since smart locks often work with an existing deadbolt, this may mean they have the same level of security as traditional locks. However, some smart locks require the deadbolt to have certain specifications before installation. For instance, the smart lock may only work with thumb-turn deadbolts and not double-cylinder deadbolts. These limitations could make the home vulnerable since the homeowner will not be able to add additional hardware for extra protection.

If you choose a smart lock, it may be best to rely on a version where you can use it as an extra layer of protection for your traditional lock. Plus, depending on the type of power source the lock uses, the lock may become useless during power failures. Brinks Home™ can help you select the best option for your specific space and needs. We offer a variety of smart locks that connect to our home security systems with encryption, opening via Bluetooth, a key code, or a regular backup key, and battery backups in the event of a power outage.

How To Keep Your Smart Door Locks Safe

Just as there are ways your smart door locks can be compromised, there are also steps you can take to protect your locks from becoming vulnerable. This includes:

  • Choose a secure smart lock password

    • The same way burglars will easily turn the knob to enter your home, they will also try to guess your code. Choosing a code like “1,2,3,4,” or “1,1,1,1” or even the numbers of your address could make your home easy to target.

  • Regularly updating your smart lock password

    • Where there is a will, there is a way. If you don’t update your password somewhat regularly, it will make it easier for burglars to trespass. Depending on your lifestyle and preference, changing your password weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly can help keep anyone from easily guessing your password.

  • Not sharing your smart lock password

    • The more people who know your password, the higher the risk of them telling someone else. If you do need to share the password with someone so that they can water your plants or feed your pets while you are out of town, make sure to change the password once you get home. Luckily, our smart locks can provide unique codes for different people that only work for a specific duration of time or can be turned off completely if no longer needed.

  • Updating the mobile application linked to your smart door locks

    • Ensuring your app is updated allows your system to be as up-to-date as possible.

Practicing these security precautions will keep your smart door locks from becoming an easy target for break-ins.

Interested in a home security system including smart door locks, sensors, cameras, and smoke detectors? Contact Brinks Home to start building your new home security system today.

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