New tech always makes you the coolest kid on the block.
Smart homes are the current cutting edge, and promise to be “better than the Jetsons.” Someone tell me when that instant food system is available, would you?
Some features that are currently available in smart homes include smartphone-controlled systems such as cameras, lights, thermostats, coffee machines, and more.
Oh, and door locks. Did I mention the door locks?
Having a door that you can lock and unlock from a distance with your phone sounds great – no more having to let your husband in when he locks himself out for the third time. However, there are also serious risks.
How Bluetooth Smart Locks Work
Smart locks allow you to have keyless entry to your home. Some smart locks have motorized throw bolts, allowing the locked door to be as secure as a regular deadbolted door.
You can also have specific access codes for certain people, allowing maintenance folks to get in or letting you know when the kids get home. Alerts and activity logs can show you what’s happening, even when you’re not home.
You can even use your phone to send a virtual key to someone, like a friend who needs to feed your cats while you’re away. And if you’re fashion-focused, don’t worry – Bluetooth smart locks come in a variety of colors and finishes so that they will match your existing hardware.
But what if the technology breaks or the batteries die? Bluetooth smart locks have backup keys that will allow you to unlock the door the old-fashioned way. Keeping one with you just in case can be useful.
Some smart locks add connectivity to your existing deadlock, making it simple for you to keep your existing hardware while still taking advantage of Bluetooth. Other locks replace your deadbolt with an all-in-one Bluetooth and deadbolt package.
Both types of locks are easy enough to install that a novice DIYer can put them in with a screwdriver and the provided instructions. If you do this, be sure to take photos of your existing lock setup in case you want to remove the Bluetooth and go back to your old lock.
Are They Safe?
So – if you have a Bluetooth smart lock, is your home safe?
The answer is yes – and no. There are arguments on both sides.
The Pros: Bluetooth Smart Locks are Seriously Cool Tech
Honestly, someone who’s motivated and had a little training can disable or pick a standard lock fairly easily. So a digital smart lock that requires hacking to break into is more secure.
The smart lock’s ability to show you a log of who’s entering your home, and to alert you if someone comes in unexpectedly, is a great feature. It allows you not only to make sure your kids are home on time but also lets you know if someone gets in that shouldn’t.
If someone is going to break in, having you notified right away is a tremendous benefit! Not to mention that your smart lock isn’t likely to be the weakest link in your home security system. Criminals are more likely to break a window.
You can miss out on a lot of neat experiences in life if you’re always worried about the worst that could happen. The truth is that homes in safe neighborhoods with security systems installed are far less likely to get robbed than less safe, less secured homes.
No matter what lock you use!
The point is that a Bluetooth smart lock is a seriously cool tech for what actually happens in your day to day life.
No more worrying about locking yourself out. No more wondering if the kids came straight home. And you’ll never have to worry if you forgot to lock the door when you left.
The connectivity can come in handy if you hands are full, you’re carrying a child, in a wheelchair, and more – any situation in which it’s hard to rummage for your keys. Whether your lock is activated by your phone or a RFID key fob, you’ll have an easier time getting in.
The Cons: A Hackable Lock? Are You Kidding Me?
So, yes, hacking is harder than picking a lock – if you’re doing it from scratch. And in a few years, when hackers develop an exploit and release it widely to underground criminals, it will be simple and easy to run.
Not only that, the person unlocking your door won’t look suspicious. And there will be little proof that they broke in, which can be problematic for police and insurance.
If a criminal just has to case a neighborhood and run an app on his or her phone to get into your house and steal things, it makes it easier than current burglaries, meaning that the rate of this type of crime will go up.
Put another way, if you don’t need specialized knowledge to do a job, then anyone who breathes is a perfect employee. And if a crime is as simple as an app, anyone who breathes can pull it.
Unfortunately, presenters at the DEF CON hacking conference found that smart lock manufacturers go for convenience over security, sometimes sending passwords in plain text and other times makes it stupidly easy to pick up the signal when the door is unlocked, making it easy for a criminal to use it again when you aren’t home.
Over time – that is, when Bluetooth smart locks aren’t new and shiny anymore – perhaps a company will make them more secure. For now, however, it isn’t worth it.
What’s Your Verdict?
Now that you’ve heard both sides of the argument, it’s time for you to decide. The best and safest Bluetooth smart locks on the market now according to DEF CON are Noke Locks and Masterlock.
There’s no question that smart homes and smart technology are becoming increasingly popular as people look to make their homes safer and more comfortable.
Bluetooth smart locks may not be safer, but they’re not any less secure than standard deadbolts. They are more convenient, however, and can make your life easier.
Using key fobs to get into and out of your home is part of the convenience. If you need a key fob duplicated for a spouse or kids, we’d love to help. Contact us to find out how we can help you today!